Child Support Calculation
CALCULATION USING "DISSOMASTER" COMPUTER
For several years in California child and spousal support
amounts have been calculated using "Guidelines"
developed by the State Legislature. Judges and attorneys use
a computer program called "Dissomaster" to
do the calculation and, in most cases, the guideline amount is
what the Court will order.
Many variables are plugged into the program to produce the final
calculation. The main factors for determining child support are
1) the relative incomes of the parties and, 2) the amount of
time each party spends with the children.
In working out divorce agreements, it helps greatly to know what
the Court would probably order in a particular case. For this
reason our firm offers a support calculation service for a flat
fee of $75.00 to do a child and/or spousal support calculation
If you are interested in this service, send us an E-Mail and
we will contact you either by phone or E-Mail with the details.
The following is a 10-step form for calculation of guideline
support. Be aware, however, that judges don't generally use this
form; they use the computer program, Dissomaster. The
end result you achieve by using our longhand form will only approximate
the Dissomaster result.
INDEX TO THE LONGHAND CALCULATION
Step 1. List Necessary Information
Step 2. Combined Income Multiplied By
Time With Child
Step 3. Subtract Step 2 From High Incom
Step 4. Add High Income Parent's Time
With Child To The #1
Step 5. Step 4 Result Multiplied By .25
Step 6. Step 3 Result Multiplied By Step
Step 7. Figuring For Multiple Children
Step 8. Allocating Support For Multiple
Step 9. Figuring "Low Income Adjustment"
Step 10. Add Child Care & Health
LIST NECESSARY INFORMATION
We begin buy listing the necessary information we will need for
steps 2 through 10 including:
- Mother's net income
- Father's net income
- Total net income of both parents
- Mother's time with the children
- Father's time with the children
- Number of children
"NET" INCOME: The Court generally determines what the
"net" incomes of the parties are by looking at a Court
form called an "Income & Expense Declaration" for
each party. You can obtain this form from your local Superior
Generally "net income" for purposes of child support
calculation is gross income (every dollar of your gross income)
minus Federal tax, State tax, Social Security, health insurance
costs for you and your children, state disability insurance,
mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement deductions, child
and spousal support payments for another relationship, necessary
job related expenses and any "hardship deductions."
Hardship deductions include 1) extraordinary health care expenses,
2) catastrophic losses, 3) support expenses for children of other
relationships living with you.
AVERAGE Vs. CURRENT: The Court generally looks at the average
net incomes of the parties for the last 12 months. But what if
your current income is different from the average? If your economic
picture has changed so that your current income is different
from your 12-month average and it looks to the court like the
change is perminent, the current figure will be used to calculate
support. If it looks to the court like the change is temporary
or like you or your spouse are intentionally lowering your income
to reduce child or spousal support, the Court will use the 12-month
average and can, if it wants to, use the amount which it believes
you or your spouse could be making if you were not playing games
with the court. Its best to be honest with the Court.
MOTHER'S NET INCOME: $__________
FATHER'S NET INCOME: $__________
TOTAL NET FOR BOTH PARENTS: $__________
MOTHER'S TIME WITH CHILDREN ___________%
FATHER'S TIME WITH CHILDREN ___________%
COMBINED INCOME MULTIPLIED BY TIME WITH CHILD
In this step we multiply the percentage of time the "high
income" parent has with the children by the total monthly
net income of both parents.
"HIGH INCOME PARENT": The "high income parent"
is the parent who has the higher net income of the two parents.
TOTAL NET INCOME BOTH PARENTS: $____________
HIGH INCOME PARENT'S TIME WITH THE CHILDREN ___________%
STEP 2 RESULT: $______________
SUBTRACT STEP 2 FROM HIGH INCOME PARENT'S INCOME
In Step 3 we subtract the Step 2 result from the high income
parent's net income.
HIGH INCOME PARENT'S NET INCOME: $____________
STEP 2 RESULT: $___________
STEP 3 RESULT: $___________
ADD HIGH INCOME PARENT'S TIME WITH CHILD TO #1
In Step 4 we add the percentage of time the "high
income parent" has the child to the number one.
PERCENTAGE OF TIME HIGH INC. PARENT HAS CHILD: _________%
STEP 4 RESULT: _________
STEP 4 RESULT MULTIPLIED BY .25
In Step 5 we multiply the Step 4 Result by .25
STEP 4 RESULT: $___________
STEP 5 RESULT: ____________
NOTE: This calculation (using .25 as the multiplication factor)
works for most situations. Different multiplication factors must
be used where total combined monthly net income is less than
$800 or more than $6,666. In such cases, use the following chart
to determine which multiplication factor to use:
- $0 - $800 : Factor equals 20 plus Total Net Incomes Both
Parents Divided by 16,000
- $801 - $6,666: Factor equals 25
- $6,667 - $10,000: Factor equals .10 plus 1,000 divided
by Total Net Incomes of both parents
- $10,001 or more: Factor equals .12 plus 800 divided by
Total Net Incomes of both parents
STEP 3 RESULT MULTIPLIED BY STEP 5 RESULT
"BASE CHILD SUPPORT"
In Step 6 we multiply the Step 5 Result by the Step 3 Result.
This gives us the "base child support" for one child.
If there is more than one child involved, we'll figure their
support in Steps 7 and 8.
STEP 3 RESULT: $______________
STEP 5 RESULT: $_______________
STEP 6 RESULT: $____________ ("Base Child Support"
- 1 Child)
FIGURING FOR MULTIPLE CHILDREN
So far we've only calculated support for one child. In
steps 7 and 8, we'll calculate and allocate support for two or
more children. If you are calculating for one child only, you
can skip steps 7 and 8 and go on to step 9.
To calculate base child support for two or more children, you
multiply the base child support (Step 6 Result) by the appropriate
"multiple children factor" in the chart below:
Multiple Children Factors:
Number Of Children - 2 - Factor - 1.6
Number Of Children - 3 - Factor - 2.0
Number Of Children - 4 - Factor - 2.3
Number Of Children - 5 - Factor - 2.5
Number Of Children - 6 - Factor - 2.625
Number Of Children -7 - Factor - 2.75
Number Of Children -8- Factor - 2.813
Number Of Children - 9 - Factor - 2.844
Number Of Children -10- Factor - 2.86
STEP 6 ANSWER $____________
MULTIPLE CHILDREN FACTOR: __________
STEP 7 RESULT: $_____________ (TOTAL CHILD SUPPORT)
ALLOCATING SUPPORT FOR MULTIPLE CHILDREN
Determining how much of the total support obligation is
to be allocated to each child becomes particularly important
as the older children reach majority and one-by-one obligations
to support individual children begin to be terminated.
Allocation Of Child Support
Here is a chart showing how the Courts generally allocate child
support obligations among multiple children:
Older - 37.5%
Younger - 62.5%
Oldest - 20%
Middle - 30%
Youngest - 50%
Oldest - 13%
Second - 17.4%
Third - 26.1%
Youngest - 43.5%
Oldest - 8%
Second - 12%
Third - 16%
Fourth - 24%
Youngest - 40%
FIGURING "LOW INCOME ADJUSTMENT"
The Courts may make a "low income adjustment"
where the non-custodial parent's income is lower than $1,000
per month and the court finds that the reduction is justified
by the facts of the case.
NOTE: this is optional and not mandatory.
Here's how to calculate the maximum adjustment the judge may
NET INCOME OF SUPPORT PAYING SPOUSE (From Step 1): $____________
STEP 7 RESULT: $___________
STEP 9 RESULT (Maximum Adjustment): $___________
ADD CHILD AND HEALTH CARE COSTS
The last step in the process is to add one half of child
care costs and monthly health care costs not covered by insurance
to the obligation of the the parent paying support
BASE CALCULATED ABOVE: $_____________
1/2 CHILD CARE COSTS: $____________
1/2 UNINSURED HEALTH CARE COSTS: $____________
TOTAL SUPPORT: $______________