Where there are children involved in a divorce proceeding, the issue of child support is going to invariably come up (as it rightly should). One of the first questions people ask is, “how much can I expect to get?”

Every state is different, but in the state of California, there are uniform guidelines spelled out here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=04001-05000&file=4050-4076

The state uses a formulaic approach to determine the value of the child support you receive, so you don’t actually have to guess. You can arrive at the exact figure, if you don’t mind doing a little math. From the state guidelines, here is the formula:

CS (child support) = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]

So what do those letters actually mean?

CS = child support amount
K = amount of both parents’ income to be allocated for child support
HN = high earner’s net monthly disposable income
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-sharing arrangements for different children, H% equals the average of the approximate percentages of time the high earner parent spends with each child.
TN = total net monthly disposable income of both parties

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% equals 20 percent and the total monthly net disposable income of the parents is \$1,000, K = (1 + 0.20) × 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) × 0.25, or 0.30.

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

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.

Now, that’s a lot of math, and if you’d rather not do all of that manually, you can reach out to our team and we can help to give you a better idea of what to expect through a consultation.