Determining Who Will Pay Child Support
The guideline formula calculates a single sum to be paid by one parent to the other, but how does the calculation indicate who pays? The question of which parent pays depends on whether or not the formula results in a positive or negative figure. If it results in a positive figure, the higher-earning parent must pay that amount to the lower-earning parent. However, if the amount calculated by the formula results in a negative number, the lower-earner must pay the absolute value of that amount to the higher-earner.
For parties with the assistance of online calculators or family law attorneys, this formulaic explanation of who pays will be academic and of little practical use. Currently, the court and attorneys use software to calculate child support, so the issue of who pays will be readily apparent.
The use of computer software is very prevalent among lawyers and judges in computing child support. In fact, judges are encouraged to use the software employed by the court instead of manually computing the formula. The following are the software certified by the Judicial Council:
- CalSupport™ and CalSupport PRO™ (Nolo Press)
- DissoMaster™ (CFLR, Inc. now part of Thomas West).
- SupporTax™ (Thomson West).
- Xspouse™ (Tolapa, Inc.).
- California Guideline Child Support Calculator (California Department of Child Support Services).