Guideline Child Support Formula
Many parents facing divorce and child support obligations want to have their child support calculated. For free assistance, there are public websites with online calculators. However, if you are facing a contested divorce or disagree upon the amount of child support calculated, retaining a Santa Rosa child support attorney may prove beneficial.
The computation of child support is now based on a mathematical formula, and not on the broad discretion of the court. The Statewide Uniform Guideline algebraic formula for determining child support is as follows:
CS = K[HN – (H%)(TN)]
CS – the child support amount
K – the amount of both parents’ income that is to be allocated for child support
HN – the high earner’s net monthly disposable income
H% – an approximate percentage of the time the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent.
TN – the total net monthly disposable income of both parents.
In applying the formula, most family law judges, attorneys, and parties rely on computer software due to the complexity of the formula. In fact, judges are encouraged to use the software employed by the court rather than computing the formula manually.
The components of the formula are discussed below.
Time-Share With Children (H%)
The time-sharing component refers to the approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the child compared to the other parent. It is based on the respective parent’s periods of primary physical responsibility and not on the actual physical custody of the child.
In some local courts, the rules include time-sharing tables that assist the trial court in approximating the percentage of time the high earner parent has primary physical responsibility for his or her children. In cases where parents have different time-sharing arrangements for different children, the figure used for H% is the average of the approximate percentages of time the higher earner parent spends with each child
There are two other factors to be considered in time-sharing: Imputed Time-Sharing and Time Share Adjustment
Imputed Time Sharing
This often happens in situations when the child is attending daycare or school and a parent wants credit for the time the child is not physically with them but is under their primary responsibility. Most courts will credit the time spent in school to the custodial parent, but the noncustodial parent can challenge it by producing evidence that he or she is primarily responsible for the child during those times.
The court must consider the following factors before imputing timeshare credits:
- Who pays for the transportation or who transports the child
- Who is designated to respond to medical or other emergencies
- Who is responsible for paying tuition or incidental school expenses
- Who participates in school activities, fundraisers, or other school-related activities
Imputed time-sharing is not restricted solely to the times when a child is in school. Time-sharing can also be properly imputed in the following circumstances:
- Care of disabled child in out-of-home care
- Grandparent visitation.
This applies in any default proceeding when proof is by affidavit, or in any child support proceeding when a party fails to appear at a noticed hearing. In case there is no evidence presented demonstrating the percentage of time that the noncustodial parent has primary physical responsibility for the child, the time-share adjustment must be set as follows:
- Zero if the noncustodial parent is the higher earner; or
- 100 if the custodial parent is the higher earner
There is an exception to this rule. The time adjustment may not be set if the moving party in a default proceeding is the noncustodial parent or if the party that fails to appear is the custodial parent.
Net Monthly Disposable Income (TN)
To compute the net monthly disposable income, the court must first determine the gross income of a parent. The allowable deductions are then subtracted from the gross income to arrive at the net monthly disposable income.
Amount of Income Allocated for Child Support (“K”)
The amount of both parents’ income allocated for child support (K) equals 1 plus H% (if H% is less than or equal to 50%) or 2 minus H% (if H% is greater than 50%), multiplied by the following fraction:
- 0.20 + TN/16,000 if the total net disposable monthly income is 800$ or less.
- 0.25 if the total net disposable monthly income is $801-$6,666.
- 0.10 + 1,000/TN if the total net disposable monthly income is $6,667-$10,000.
- 0.12 + 800/TN if the total net disposable monthly income is more than $10,000.