Under the California Family Code, both parents of a minor child or children have an equal responsibility to support their children in the manner suitable to the children’s circumstances. In addition to child support both parties are required to equally share unreimbursed medical costs, and child care costs related to employment or training and education needed to obtain employment.


Initial Child Support Order

California has a statewide uniform guideline formula for determining how much child support should be paid. If parents cannot agree on child support, the judge must decide the child support amount based on the guideline calculation. This guideline amount is presumed to be correct. In very limited circumstances, the judge can order something other than the guideline amount.  This is called deviating from guideline child support

The guideline calculation depends on:

  • How much money the parents earn or can earn,

  • How much other income each parent receives,

  • How many children the parents have together,

  • How much time each parent spends with their children,

  • The actual tax filing status of each parent,

  • Support of children from other relationships,

  • Health insurance expenses,

  • Mandatory union dues,

  • Mandatory retirement contributions,

  • The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health care costs, and

  • Other factors.

Child support might also include the cost of special needs, such as:

  • Traveling for visitation from one parent to another (usually extraordinary costs such as airfare),

  • Educational expenses, and

  • Other special needs.

Child support usually terminates upon the occurrence of one of the following events:

  • The child turns 18 years of age and is not a full-time high school student or;

  • The child turns 19 years of age (child support ends at 19 or high school graduation);

  • The child gets married or joins the military;

  • The court ends the support order; or

  • The child dies before the age of 18.


Parents may agree to support a child longer than the minimum time required. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child if that child cannot support him or herself.

It is important to speak to a family law attorney about your child’s right to child support because there are laws relating to when the order may become effective. Jennifer has extensive experience handling initial child support orders.

Modification of Child Support

Child support may be modified when there is a change in circumstances. For example, if you change the amount of time you spend with your child, lose your job or the other parent receives an increase in income, you can ask for a change in your child support.

Before you decide to ask for a change in child support, you should contact Jennifer at the Law Office of Jennifer A. Britt, APC to make sure it is worth it for you to go back to court. Understand, the court still uses the California uniform guideline when modifying support. The amount the judge orders may be different based on information from the other parent or other factors that affect child support.