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Riverside County Department of Child Support Services
Step 4: Establish an Order
Calculating the Amount of Child Support

TESTTESTTEST Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child(ren). The custodial parent directly supports his or her child(ren) by providing housing; buying groceries; paying for school; clothing, healthcare, daycare, and school activities; and covering other expenses. The noncustodial parent pays child support to help cover these costs.

The amount of child support to be paid by parents is based on the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren) and their net income.  Public assistance is not considered income for purposes of calculating child support. Income is money from sources including: job wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, self-employment earnings, unemployment money, disability and worker's compensation, interest, dividends, rental income, Social Security, and any payments or credits due or becoming due (regardless of source), including lottery and prize winnings. The judge may consider the amount of money he or she thinks the parent could be making, instead of the parentís actual income.

Net income is calculated by taking a personís total income and subtracting certain expenses, such as federal and state income taxes, health insurance premiums, state disability insurance, Social Security taxes, costs of raising a child from another relationship, large health care bills, major losses due to lack of insurance, mandatory union dues, and mandatory retirement contributions.

Once each parentís net income is calculated, the child support guideline is used to determine the percentage of net income to be paid as child support.

In an effort to provide parents with a better understanding of how child support is calculated, a simplified version of the child support guidelines is provided below. However, just as the circumstances of each case are different, so are the amounts of child support ordered by the court. For specific information about the child support guidelines and formula, see the Statewide Uniform Guidelines for Determining Child Support listed in the California Family Code Sections 4050-4076. Or visit the California Guideline Calculator to estimate the amount of child support that may be ordered in your case.

The box below is a general guideline for calculating child support. Our office will calculate the amount of child support in your case, although the final amount will be determined by a judge.

Number of Children in Household
% of Net Income
1
25%
2
40%
3
50%
Example: A custodial parent (in this case, the mother) and noncustodial parent (the father) have one child. If the fatherís net income is $2000/month, his share of child support would be $500/month (25% of $2,000). If the motherís net income is $1500/month, her share of child support would be $375/month (25% of $1,500. These percentages are then adjusted to the amount of time each parent spends with the child.

Child support covers only ordinary living expenses for a child. It does not include things like childcare, medical bills not paid by insurance, travel expenses for visitation with the other parent, or a childís special education needs. Ask our office about getting more support to cover these expenses.

  Understand the Process
  Expand Text Image
  red dot  Step 1: Open a Case
  red dot  Step 2: Locate
  red dot  Step 3: Establish Paternity
  red dot  Step 4: Establish Order
Tree Image Medical Support
Tree Image Requesting a Review
Tree Image Modifying Orders
Tree Image Calculating Support
  red dot  Step 5: Enforce Order
  red dot  Step 6: Collect Support
  red dot  Step 7: Close a Case

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