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Facts About Child Support


• California has statewide guidelines for child support that are determined using a mathematical formula.  Most lawyers and judges use software programs (such as DissoMaster or Xspouse) to determine appropriate support levels.  Click here for a California Child Support Calculator.

• Child support cannot be waived.  It is the child's right, not yours.

• Variables that may change the amount of support include:
– Timeshare (hours spent with the children) (Click here for a timeshare calculator)
– Income
– Deductions (health insurance / union dues / mandatory retirement / real estate taxes / mortgage interest) 

• The Income & Expense Declaration (form FL‐150) is a mandatory form that both parties must complete and exchange.   It shows salary, wages, self‐employment income, bonuses, perks, deferred compensation, rental income, partnerships, S Corps, LLCs, trusts, investment income, etc.  The information on this form will help determine the child support amount.

• Termination – Child support continues until the child reaches age 18 (or 19 if still in high school)

• Child Support is always modifiable based on change in circumstance (i.e. income)

• Mandatory Add‐Ons include cost of child care (work / education related), unreimbursed medical expenses.  These add-ons are typically split 50/50, though the court may order a different split if there is a large disparity in income (i.e. 40/60, 0/100, 30/70)

• Discretionary Add‐Ons include travel expenses, extracurricular activities, private school tuition

• If the judge orders a Wage Assignment (WA), the support amount is withheld by the payor's employer and paid to the state.  The state then pays the party who is owed the support.
 
• There may be support complications where the payor is self‐employed

• Enforcement Mechanisms used when a payor fails to pay child support include driver’s license suspension, seizure of tax refunds, and liens on assets (i.e. bank account / home)

• It is important to take into consideration the taxability of child support, exemptions, and filing status (i.e. head of household, etc.)

Tax Consequences of Support


• Child Support
– Nondeductible by payor
  – Nontaxable to recipient

• Family Support
– Hybrid of Spousal & Child Support
– Designed to make child support deductible
– Takes advantage in differences in tax rates of payor and recipient
– Deductible by payor
– Taxable to recipient
– Typically more than SS & CS combined
– Recapture risks