How Is the Amount of Child Support Determined in Divorce Court?

Photo of a mother comforting her daughter

If you and your spouse are deciding to file for divorce, there are many things that need to be kept in mind moving forward. If you are parents with children, the issue of child support will definitely be a top priority for each spouse and their divorce attorneys. The divorce courts are usually required to establish the amount of child support a non-custodial parent must pay. This agreement can either be reached by a mutual understanding or fighting it out in front of the court judge. Child support payments are usually incorporated into the divorce judgment, so it is important to know at the beginning of the divorce how the amount of support will be calculated.

How Do the Divorce Courts Decide the Amount of Child Support Given?

Child support payments are generally provided for the ordinary expenses and essential needs for the child. These expenses include food, shelter, clothing, education and any medications needed for the children in the divorced family. The court will look at the following:

  • The children’s needs: If one of your children is disabled or sickly, they will obviously need a higher level of support than any of the other healthy children.
  • The children’s age: Infants and younger children usually cost less to support than older children
  • The ability of the non-custodial parent to pay: The divorce court is limited in giving child support by the ability of a parent to pay based on income from all available sources
  • The earning capacity of the custodial parent: Both parents have the responsibility of supporting their children, not just the paying parent. The earnings or earning capacity of the custodial parent will be considered when determining child support amounts.
  • Other responsibilities of the parents: There are many other specific circumstances that will come into account when determining child support that the courts will also look into. It’s important to realize, however, that the courts will not reduce child support payments to make it easier for the parent to pay for other obligations.

Divorce court and attending trial isn’t always necessary in order for parents to agree to the child support amount. However, if one parent disagrees, going to court will be necessary, and that parent will want a divorce attorney by their side. Contact our San Diego divorce attorneys at Gnau & Tamez today.