Who Gets Child Support if We Have Similar Incomes?
In California, child support is used to help the custodial parent financially support the child or children living in their home. When couples have similar incomes, they may wonder who would be awarded child support. However, what couples do not realize is that child support is not based on which spouse makes more or less – instead, it is about the amount of financial support the child would receive if the parents still lived together and supported the child together.
The Purpose of Child Support Calculations
California Family Code Section 4050 delineates the Statewide Child Support Guideline. This guideline was created to provide a minimum level of child support for the child and ensure child support calculations are fair. While judges can deviate slightly, they are only allowed to do so under limited, specific situations.
There are underlying principles used to establish child support. California family courts see child support as a way to ensure parents meet their obligations to support their minor children – and that both parents are mutually responsible for financially supporting their children. Child support orders are established to ensure the child receives fair and sufficient financial support, and that the payments reflect the costs of living for the state.
How Child Support Payments are Calculated
Regardless of whether or not both spouses have similar incomes, the court uses a complex formula to determine how much the non-custodial parent will pay each month in child support. To determine child support, parents will supply:
- Their gross incomes
- Percentages of the time the child spends with each parent
- Available tax deductions a parent can claim – such as a mortgage interest deduction
- Any mandatory payroll deductions the parents have – such as insurance premiums, union dues, retirement, and pension deductions
- Child care costs both parents will incur
Each of these factors will determine how much the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay.
50/50 Time Sharing
If for some reason the couple has agreed to a 50/50 time sharing split, and both parents make equal pay, then child support may not be awarded. However, in most cases, child support is not that straightforward. Parents will usually have different incomes after their deductions have been taken from their gross pay. Also, 50/50 time sharing is difficult to complete as there is typically one parent that takes more financial responsibility of the child than the other. Therefore, the courts still may award one parent a small amount of child support to cover any day-to-day costs that the other parent will not encounter.
In conclusion, even if parents make the same amount of money, there may still be a small amount of child support awarded or a larger monthly payment required. In all, the amount of child support is based on the amount of time a child spends with each parent and the financial burdens each parent encounters.
Confused About Child Support? Contact Sarieh Law Offices Today
Calculating child support often requires the assistance of a family law attorney. Sarieh Law Offices can help you better understand how child support is calculated and even estimate how much you will pay or receive in your custody case. Call us today at 714-542-6200 to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation, or fill out an online contact form.