Sacramento Child Support Calculation
The Statewide Uniform Guideline provides a formula to use in computing the amount of child support to be ordered. Courts no longer have broad discretion in ordering child support; they must adhere to the formula.
Several resources exist for calculating child support. The family court division of the Sacramento Superior Court offers a free child support calculation service through the Sacramento Law Library. Also, California has an online payment estimator that utilizes the guideline formula. While these resources are free, the variables such as timeshare can vary dramatically with aggressive legal representation.
The formula 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.
It is common practice to use software in applying the formula and computing child support due to the complexity of the formula. Judges are required to have an understanding of the formula, and the relationship of each of the factors. However, even judges are encouraged to use the software employed by the court in computing child support.
There are three main items to consider in the formula: (1) Timeshare, (2) Net Disposable Income, and (3) Amount of Income Allocated for Child Support
Timeshare with Children (H%)
This component represents the percentage of time that the high earner has primary physical responsibility for the child compared to the other parent. Note that it is physical responsibility and not physical custody that is taken into account. Some local courts include timesharing 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 case the parents have different timesharing arrangements for different children, the average of the approximate percentages of time will be used as the value for H%.
In computing timeshare, the issues of imputing timesharing and time adjustment may come up.
Timesharing may be imputed to a parent when the child is not in either parent’s physical custody, but still under the physical responsibility of one of them. This issue often arises in cases where the child is at school and the parent wants credit for the time the child is not physically with him or her. Usually, the court will credit the time a child spends in school, except when the noncustodial parents produces evidence that he or she is primarily responsible for the child during the challenged times.
The court should consider the following issues in determining 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
Timesharing may also be imputed in cases where care of a disabled child is in out-of-home care, or in cases of grandparent visitation.
This occurs in a default proceeding or in a child support proceeding when a party fails to appear at a noticed hearing. When there is no evidence presented that can be used as the basis for the percentage of time for the noncustodial parent, the timeshare adjustment must be set as:
- Zero if the noncustodial parent is the higher earner; or
- 100 if the custodial parent is the higher earner.
This will not apply however, when the moving party in a default proceeding is the noncustodial parent or if the party that fails to appear is the custodial parent. A statement by the non-defaulting party regarding the percentage of time shall be deemed sufficient evidence of timeshare.
Net Disposable Income
The net disposable income is the sum after allowable deductions have been subtracted from gross income.
Amount of Income Allocated for Child Support
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.