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Child Support


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California Family Code (Fam Code) § 4055 provides a formula (called a "guideline") for calculating the amount of child support a parent should pay. The amount determined using the formula is only a guideline - the court can look at other factors in awarding child support. There are several options for calculating the estimated amount of child support that may be ordered in your case: 

  1. The California Department of Child Support Services website has a free online child support calculator, available at www.childsup.ca.gov/calculator. This is the official calculator used by Family Court Commissioners.
  2. A Sacramento Superior Court Pro Tem Judge will run a support calculation for you using the online calculator. The estimated amount determined by this calculation is for your information only; it is not official or binding, and will not be included in your case file. This free walk-in service is available Tuesday mornings, 9:00 am - 11:00 am in Department 128 at the Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. Bring the following information with you:
    • The gross income of each parent.  
    • The percentage of time the child(ren) spend with a non-custodial parent.
    • The tax filing status of each parent.
    • Amounts spent by each parent on health insurance, retirement, and child care.
  3. If your finances are fairly simple, you may find Chapter 5 of the Nolo Press book, How to Do Your Own Divorce in California (KFC 126 .H692, Self Help),useful for calculating support by hand.  The book is in the Law Library, many public libraries, and is for sale in many bookstores and from the publisher at http://nolotech.com/CA/CA.html.  However, the formula is fairly complicated, so most people prefer to use a computer to make the calculations for them. 

Further information about child support is available from the following resources.

SELF HELP

Self-help materials provide "plain English" explanations of the law, written by attorneys or other legal professionals. These books include basic procedures, forms with instructions, and models of other documents that may be required.

Books:

Websites:

  • California Courts Self-Help Website www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-support.htm  
    This website provides information, instructions, and forms for setting up or modifying support orders.
  • Nolo Press Self-Help Law Center www.nolo.com
    This website contains legal information for non-attorneys.  The "Divorce and Family Law" section includes information about child support.

 IN DEPTH RESEARCH

These are "practitioner's guides" aimed at attorneys; they contain a lot of information about the law, procedures, motions, and forms.

  • California Child and Spousal Support: Establishing, Modifying and Enforcing KFC 133. B87
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • California Civil Practice: Family Law Litigation KFC 115.A6 B36
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.
  • California Family Law: Practice and Procedure KFC 115 .L87
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.
  • California Forms of Pleading and Practice KFC 1010 .A65C3 (Ready Reference)
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using the Matthew Bender CD.
  • California Marital Settlement & Other Family Law Agreements KFC 126.W34
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • California Practice Guide: Family Law KFC 115 .H64 R8
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.
  • Practice Under the California Family Code KFC 126 .P7
    Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.
  • The Determination of Income for Child Support KF 549 .B68

FORMS

Child support cases require the use of mandatory statewide Judicial Council forms, as well as some Sacramento County local forms. Samples of completed forms are available in many of the books listed above. Blank forms are available from the following resources:

Books: 

Websites:

STATUTES

All of the materials listed above will refer you to sections of the California Codes.

Books:

  • Deering's California Code Annotated KFC30.5 .D4 (Compact)
  • West's Annotated California Codes KFC30 .W48 

Websites: 

 COMMUNITY RESOURCES  

Family Law Facilitator
3341 Power Inn Road, Room 113
Services provided: The Family Law Facilitator's office provides assistance with many aspects of the child support process. Assistance is provided through their
"E-Correspondence" service (services.saccourt.ca.gov/flfoecorrespondence), where you can ask questions and receive answers via secure email.

Department of Child Support Services
3701 Power Inn Road
866-901-3212
Services provided: The Department of Child Support Services can assist at all stages of a child support action including locating absent parents, establishing parentage, obtaining court ordered child support awards including medical insurance, and collecting payments pursuant to the award. DCSS services are free to all parents and children in California.

updated 4/14 mpj