At Bansmer Law, we’ve specialized in divorce and child support cases for over 10 years. We’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to family law.
Every case is different, but they all have one detail in common: a divorce is always exhausting and overwhelming for the people involved, especially when they have children.
We strive to make the divorce and child support negotiation process as smooth and stress-free as possible. One key factor in achieving this is making sure you know your rights. When you have a clear picture of what you’re entitled to, it’s so much easier to navigate this daunting process.
That’s why we put together this guide to child support with split custody in California. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a clear picture of what to do next and how to protect your best interests.
Can You Negotiate Child Support in California?
Yes, you can negotiate child support in California—but you and your spouse have to agree on every detail. Once both sides are happy, you’ll submit the written agreement for court approval.
This is the next hurdle in the negotiation process. Once you and your spouse agree, the court has to review everything and sign off. They’re checking to make sure you’re in compliance with all legal requirements and that the agreement is fair to both of you.
If everything looks good, the agreement should be approved. At this point it’s a legally binding court order that both of you must abide by. If the judge finds any issues, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50/50 Custody in California?
Yes, you still might have to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody in California. It’s common for the parent who earns a higher income to pay certain costs or child support in general.
The state of CA prefers to split custody of children 50/50. In this scenario, both parents have equal visitation rights and the child (or children) split their time evenly between both. California courts prefer this arrangement because in most cases, the children’s quality of life doesn’t degrade.
Child support is a big factor in quality of life. Since the state seeks to minimize the negative impacts a divorce has on children, you might still have to pay it even with 50/50 custody. The judge will consider both parents’ gross income, payroll deductions, and predicted childcare costs to calculate your payments.
If you’d like a rough idea of what you might be ordered to pay, CA Child Support Services has an online calculator tool.
Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in California?
No, parents can’t agree to no child support in California. This is state law under the California Family Code. Basically, parents can’t get divorced in CA without making a plan to support children under the age of 18. Care is a constitutional right. And even as the child’s parent, you don’t have the authority to infringe on that right.
But the laws do allow for negotiating child support with split custody in California. If you’re worried about not being able to afford child support, you have options. There are state guidelines in place to help you and your spouse reach an agreement that works for everyone.
Is Child Support Based on Gross or Net Income in California?
Child support is based on both parents’ net disposable income in California. And the courts use a very specific formula to determine your net income.
First, your gross annual income will be pinpointed. Then certain mandatory deductions, necessary expenses, and payroll taxes are accounted for. Finally, that dollar amount is divided by 12 to find your monthly net disposable income.
There are also rules in place to prevent people from cheating the system.
If the court believes a parent has recently become unemployed on purpose (to avoid paying child support), the process is a bit different. The judge determines the newly unemployed parent’s earning ability and calculates child support from there, forcing that parent to pay what they rightfully owe.
How Do California Courts Determine Child Support?
California courts determine child support by using a formula that considers:
- How much each parent earns (including things like investment income, pensions, property, and workers’ comp)
- How much time each parent will spend with the child
- Which parent earns a higher income
- How many children you have
The court’s priority is protecting children from the impacts of their parents’ divorce. That’s why unlike other states, California’s child support laws consider more than just each parent’s income.
And whether you reach an agreement with your ex-spouse or need a judge to make a formal ruling, these laws apply to you. Everything from visitation travel expenses to uninsured healthcare costs must be figured out and divided up between you two.
Get Help from an Experienced and Dependable San Joaquin County Child Support Lawyer Now
Navigating the minefield of California child support alone can be harrowing. Divorces are almost always messy, especially when dependents like children are part of the picture.
At Bansmer Law, we’ve seen it all while helping our clients through child support cases. It’s true that some situations are smooth and straightforward. But it’s incredibly common for one parent to make the process as painful as possible.
They might quit their job and refuse to look for work in the hopes of paying less child support. Or they may insist on more time with the children to reduce the payments. These are just 2 of many challenges we’ve seen our clients through over the years.
Neither you nor your children should have to suffer at the hands of your spouse. You deserve a fresh start without any negative implications or unnecessary obstacles.
Call the San Joaquin County Child Support Lawyer at Bansmer Law today to schedule your consultation and learn more about how we’ll protect your best interests.Back to blog home