Why is child support sometimes clearly more than the child needs?

By |2022-04-06T14:54:21+00:0019 May 2017|Categories: Child Support|


How can it be fair for child support to clearly be more than is necessary to meet the child’s needs?

If you happen to be the parent paying support, it may certainly seem unfair. However, in some income brackets, it isn’t exactly an uncommon situation — it has to do with how child support is calculated and the ultimate goal of the support payments.

If you want to understand how this happens, you need to understand what the court is trying to accomplish when it determines the support that you pay. In essence, the court is aiming to keep the child’s environment as steady as possible — and that means making sure that the child’s lifestyle is consistent with what he or she would have had if the parents had remained married. That may end up putting a heavier financial burden on the paying parent than he or she expects, especially if the custodial parent has been a stay-at-home parent for a number of years or generally has less income to contribute toward the calculations.

Since the custodial parent is using the child support payments toward things like shelter, food and transportation, that often means that his or her lifestyle benefits from the support as well. That’s a perfectly legitimate result, especially in situations where the paying parent has a considerable amount of wealth.

It’s also important to understand how the court determines what your income actually is for the purposes of support. The court will consider all of the income a parent has from any source, not just what is shown on a tax return. For example, investment income may not be taxable if you typically reinvest it, but it’s considered when your child support is calculated. If you own a business, the court will look at your expenses and see what might actually be considered personal expenses run through the business for your convenience. That money also gets added back into your income stream when the child support calculation is made.

Keep in mind that every situation is different. If you believe the child support order is excessive, your attorney can present your case to the judge and ask for a reasonable modification. As long as your child’s lifestyle can be preserved, the court may allow it.

Source: The Huffington Post, “California Child Support: The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered,” Fred Silberberg, accessed May 19, 2017

About the Author:

Dorie Anne Rogers - The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
Dorie A. Rogers, a Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California, has been an attorney since 1981 with an exclusive family law practice located in Orange County. She is accepting dissolution cases with support and property issues including the use of forensics to ascertain business value, community interests and to establish monthly case flow analysis. Ms. Rogers has substantial experience in high conflict custody litigation involving sophisticated psychological issues. She drafts premarital and postmarital agreement designed to define and establish parties' separate and community property interests. Paternity cases and domestic violence matters are considered part of her practice. Ms. Rogers is a court-approved and court-appointed to represent minor children.Ms. Rogers consults with individuals concerned about entering or exiting a relationship. She advises effective strategies for dissolution or premarital planning. Knowledge is power and good planning affords better results.Specialties: Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California
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