• 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)
– 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