Supporting a child after separation can be tough. Whether you are the one making or receiving child support payments, you will have to adjust to a new financial situation while adjusting to a new way of life. Child support payments can vary drastically and look different based on a large number of factors, like parents’ income and who the parent is with most of the custody time. With changing legislation about child support in California, you might be wondering what average payments look like and how the child support payment process works.

What Is Child Support?

Raising a child is expensive, and there are countless expenses that parents need to pay for. In California, both parents of a child need to legally provide financial support for their children, regardless of what the relationship between them is. If you and your partner get a divorce or share a child and were never married, one of you can seek child support payments to get financial help providing for your child’s needs. To do so, you can file a child support order with the court. On average, a typical child support monthly payment is about $400-500 in California, but it can vary greatly. An experienced child support attorney in Orange County, CA can help walk you through every step of the process.

What Is the Average Child Support Payment in California?

How Long Does Child Support Last?

In most cases, the person paying child support payments must continue to do so until the child grows up. In California, this is considered when the child turns 18 or turns 19 if the child is in high school full-time and unmarried at the age of 18. Not all child support situations are the same, though, and in some cases, the court might order that the payments continue even after the child reaches adulthood. There are also some cases in which child support payments can end early, like if the child enters the military, becomes emancipated from their parents, or passes away.

What Impacts Child Support Payments?

Lots of factors can impact child support payments in California. However, the courts primarily look at the following factors when making their decision:

  • The Parents’ Monthly Incomes: The amount you and your former partner make will play the biggest role in the court’s determination of child support payments. In many cases, the parent with the highest income will pay child support to the parent with the lowest income, but this might vary based on other factors.
  • The Amount of Time Each Parent Spends With the Child: The time that each of you spends taking care of the child plays an important role in the determination of child support, too. Those who spend a significant amount of time with the child often have lower payments because they are supporting the child with their time and effort.
  • Additional Significant Expenses: Life can get complicated, and the California court will recognize when other factors impact people’s finances, like pricey medical bills or disabilities.        

How to Change a Child Support Order

Making changes to a child support order is never easy. If you are trying to make adjustments to an existing order, you will have to be able to prove that you have encountered a significant change in circumstances. For example, you might be able to change the amount of payments if you experience the following situations:

  • You lose a job and are now making significantly less money.
  • The other parent got a promotion or a new job and makes significantly more money.
  • You have new medical expenses that have significantly impacted your financial situation.
  • Your time with the child has increased.

You should be aware that the rules for seeking child support payments, determining them, and modifying them vary by state. It’s thus important to work with a legal professional with years of experience in your state in order to ensure you have the right knowledge and expectations about the process.


Q: How Much Is the Average Child Support Per Month in California?

A: Child support payments in California are largely determined by the parents’ combined incomes, so the amount that people throughout the state pay can vary drastically. However, it is believed that, on average, residents of California paying child support pay between $400-500 per child every month. If you’re wondering how much you might have to pay in child support, you should consult with a legal professional, as it will be based on your and your co-parent’s financial situation.

Q: What Is the New Child Support Law 2023 in California?

A: The New Child Support Law made in 2023 updated the method for calculating child support in California. For instance, it placed new emphasis on the amount of time present with the children. It also made it a bit easier to make changes to existing child support orders to accommodate shifting financial situations.

Q: What Is the Standard Child Support Percentage in California?

A: The standard child support percentage in California is 25%. This means that, in general, 25% of the non-custodial parent’s net income goes to one child. For two children, it’s 40%; for three children, it’s 50%; for four kids, 60%; and for five or more, a higher percentage is determined. It is important to note, however, that other factors can impact how much a person pays in child support.

Q: How Does CA Calculate Child Support?

A: California calculates child support (CS) by first taking the parent’s total combined income (K) and noting the net disposable income of the parent with the higher income (HN). They also calculate the amount of time that the higher-earning parent will have physical custody compared to the child’s other parent (H%) and both parents’ net monthly disposable income (TN). They then use the following formula: CS = K (HN – (H%) (TN)).

A Child Support Attorney in Orange County, CA

If you have questions or need legal guidance on this matter, you should contact a child support attorney. At The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we know how tough co-parenting can be and the kind of stress and conflict that can arise from the situation. We are here to consult with you about what you’re going through and craft a strategic legal path. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.