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How is Child Support Determined and Ordered in Los Angeles and Orange County Family Court?

In California, child support is determined using a mathematical formula codified in Family Code Section 4055. The most important factors are the incomes of the parents. The next most important factor is the amount of time the parents have custody. Changes in custody time can sometimes result in changes in child support payment amounts.

Child support calculations are uniformly made using a computer program. The ones used in Los Angeles  and Orange County Superior Courts are called the Dissomaster and Xspouse. Both family law attorneys and the family court judges use the programs. While the programs take into account the income of the parties and the amount of time each parent spends with the kids, the most important factor is income. If you would like to estimate child support payments, you can use the following information and calculator: https://childsupport.ca.gov/calculate-child-support/

Child Support Amounts Can Be Modified

Child support can be reduced or increased by making a written request to the Court that issued the original child support order. This is called a Request for Orders and is made using the FL-300 Request for Orders form. This is the same form one uses to obtain an initial child support order.

If the facts support it and you make a formal motion (A Request for Orders) to the court for a modification, you can have support increased or reduced. For example, if the parent receiving the child support inherits money, gets a large raise, or otherwise has an increased ability to support the children, support payments may be reduced for the paying parent. In contrast, if the paying parent loses his or her job, the court can be asked to reduce support during the period of unemployment or lower income.

Child support orders cannot be changed simply because one parent desires a change. A change in the support amount will be based on evidence proving that sufficient grounds exist to make the change. This requires a showing the circumstances have changed from what they were when the order was entered. In the many years a child support order remains effective, the parents’ circumstances may change many times and so may the child support order.