Child Support Guidelines

How California’s formula determines the amount of child support

The California Child Support Guideline

This is the legal formula under which the state determines child support. At Peace Talks, we have a computer program that will do these calculations for you. All you need to do is provide the necessary financial information. We will work with you and your spouse to create a legal and mutual child support agreement that provides for your child or children’s continued well-being.

Cal Fam Code § 4055 (2004) (abridged) 

  • 4055. Formula for statewide uniform guideline for determining child support
  • (a) The statewide uniform guideline for determining child support orders is as follows: CS = K [HN – (H%) (TN)].
  • (b) (1) The components of the formula are as follows:
  • (A) CS = child support amount.
  • (B) K = amount of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support as set forth in paragraph (3).
  • (C) HN = high earner’s net monthly disposable income.
  • (D) H% = approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent. In cases in which parents have different time-haring arrangements for different children, H% equals the average of the approximate percentages of time the high earner parent spends with each child.
  • (E) TN = total net monthly disposable income of both parties.
  • (2) To compute net disposable income, see Section 4059.
  • (3) K (amount of both parents’ income allocated for child support) equals one plus H% (if H% is less than or equal to 50 percent) or two minus H% (if H% is greater than 50 percent) times the following fraction:

Total Net Disposable

Income Per Month K
$ 0-800 0.20 + TN/16,000
$ 801-6,666 0.25
$ 6,667-10,000 0.10 + 1,000/TN
Over $ 10,000 0.12 + 800/TN

For example, if H 7.986117e-222quals 20 percent and the total monthly net disposable income of the parents is $ 1,000, K = (1 + 0.20) x 0.25, or 0.30. If H% equals 80 percent and the total monthly net disposable income of the parents is $1,000, K = (2 – 0.80) x 0.25, or 0.30.

(4) For more than one child, multiply CS by:

2 children 1.6
3 children 2
4 children 2.3
5 children 2.5
6 children 2.625
7 children 2.75
8 children 2.813
9 children 2.844
10 children 2.86

(5) If the amount calculated under the formula results in a positive number, the higher earner shall pay that amount to the lower earner. If the amount calculated under the formula results in a negative number, the lower earner shall pay the absolute value of that amount to the higher earner.

(c) If a court uses a computer to calculate the child support order, the computer program shall not automatically default affirmatively or negatively on whether a low-income adjustment is to be applied. If the low-income adjustment is applied, the computer program shall not provide the amount of the low-income adjustment. Instead, the computer program shall ask the user whether or not to apply the low-income adjustment, and if answered affirmatively, the computer program shall provide the range of the adjustment permitted by paragraph (7) of subdivision (b).