What You Need to Know About Child Support in California

The amount of money ordered by a California family court for a parent or both parents to pay is known as child support. It will usually be paid to you if you are the custodial parent. You will often receive monthly child support payments. It is intended to pay for the living expenses of your child. The state of California believes parents have a duty to support their children financially.

Importance of Support

The amount of child support paid is designed to improve the standard of living of the custodial parent. This will then improve your child’s standard of living. It will also decrease the disparity of the standard of living for you and your children. California is an expensive state for its residents. Child support can make a huge difference in the lives of you and your children.

Deciding Factors

When determining child support in California there are many different factors taken into consideration:

  • The amount of time each parent has to be with their children.
  • The number of children who will need to have support.
  • The net disposable income of each parent. This is determined by the amount of money a parent has after taxes are taken from their gross income.

There are other factors, but these are the initial top three factors that influence the amount of child support that will be paid.

Health Insurance

Each child support order in California must include a provision concerning medical support. This is in addition to a child support order. It requires one or both parents to provide health insurance for their child. It can be insurance that’s available at a reasonable cost or no cost. This coverage must include dental, medical as well as vision. Reasonable health insurance costs are often calculated at an amount not more than five percent of a parent’s gross income.


The child support laws in California give discretion to the court when it comes to ordering payment of costs associated with attending a private school. It is more likely a court will order this if a child has been attending a private school at the time of their parent’s divorce. Some children also have special needs that require special schooling. This will often be granted by the family court.

Extracurricular Activities

A family court also has the authority to order payment for a child’s extracurricular activities. This is usually granted when a child has a history of participating in such activities.

Travel Expenses

It is also reasonable for a court to order payment of travel expenses for visitation in certain situations. This will often happen if a custodial parent is required to travel a significant distance to take the child to visit the noncustodial parent.

Child Support Process

The process of obtaining child support usually begins one of two ways.

1. During a paternity or divorce filing

2. As an action taken by the California Department of Child Support Services utilizing a local child support agency.

The process begins with completing form FL-300. Should the form be submitted incomplete, it may result in a significant impact on the requested child support. It is essential to have proper legal representation concerning completing the form. Self-represented parents often don’t complete the form correctly.

Serving Child Support Requests

When a child support request is completed, it must be served to the other parent. The type of service utilized will depend on if the parent has already been served with a paternity or divorce petition. A factor is also if a parent is a resident of California.

Child Support Guidelines

The family courts in California are required to follow child support guidelines. To deviate from them, the family court must have an established legal reason. A California family court cannot order child support guidelines not be followed for a reason that is not permitted by law.

Should you have any questions concerning child support, contact Cianci Law, PC. Our legal professionals have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you during the entire process of obtaining child support. We know how to work within the family court system to obtain the best possible result for our clients.

Request a Consultation

Fields marked with an * are required

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.