Child Support Expanded

Child Support Calculator (Dissomaster)

The California Legislature adopted an algebraic formula to calculate child support on July 1, 1992.  Child Support is determined by a distinct calculation set forth under California law which uses the net income of the parents along with the parent’s visitation time to determine the amount of child support the supporting parent must pay.  Most courts and legal practitioners use a software program to perform the algebraic formula called the Dissomaster to determine the calculation.  The numbers are placed into the dissomaster and the software produces the amount of child support allocated to each parent.  The dissomaster also determines spousal support as well.

Child Support Enforcement

When a parent has failed to pay child support there are three options for the supported parent.  First, the parent ordered to pay child support may be held in contempt of court.  This is a criminal proceeding for failure to obey court orders and he/she may be placed in jail.

Second, child support enforcement agencies may be contacted to assist the supported party to receive payment for child support.   The California Child Support program works with parents and guardians to ensure children and families receive court-ordered child support.  Third, the most effective way to receive unpaid child support if the parent is employed with a consistent income paid by an employer is to levy his/her wages.  In this case, through a court order, the employer pays the supported parent directly and the proceeds are taken from the parent’s paycheck.  This is the most effective method as payment is made consistently

Commonly Asked Child Support Questions

Child support is determined using guidelines pursuant to California law. The guidelines factor in the parents’ income and the amount of time each parent is with the child.

Child support is to be spent on household expenses. Unfortunately, California law does not provide a legal remedy to prevent a payee from spending the money on other expenses, including personal expenses. As long as the payee is not spending the support on anything illegal or in ways that would harm the child the court does not intervene.

Child Support is always modifiable upon a “change in circumstance” so if a job is lost or your income is reduced the prior orders can be modified to reduce the amount of child support you pay.

If the party ordered to pay child support lives out of state you must open a case with a local child support agency and they will work with the other state in assisting you to obtain payment for child support.

The amount of child support calculated toward each parent factors in the amount of time each parent spends with the child so if you obtain more time with the child then the amount of child support you are ordered to pay is reduced.

If the other party refuses to pay child support please seek an attorney as contempt proceedings would have to be initiated. In this case, the court holds, essentially, a criminal hearing for violating a court order. A more efficient approach is to levy the parent’s wages so the employer would pay you directly from the paycheck.

His or her child support payments may be reduced if the other party is now supporting other children.

Because of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement, there are strict requirements when it comes to Jurisdiction and children.   There are certain factors that need to be met with move away hearings.  The hearings themselves are always tough on one party as they are either currently distant from their children or are about to be distant from their children.

Family Code Section 3024 provides that a parent shall have adequate notice of a parent seeking a relocation order. Therefore all the procedural groundwork for a relocation order must be satisfied for the hearing to take place.


Certain case law governs move away hearings such as LaMusga and Jacob v. C.H. The factors in LaMusga are the most important as they govern what must be met in order for a party to relocate or move away. In evaluating the best interest of the child in a “move away” situation, LaMusga directs the court to consider the following factors:

  1. The interest of the minor child in the continuity and permanency in the custodial arrangement and the harm that may result from the disruption of established patterns of care and emotional harm;
  2. The child’s relationship with the parents;
  3. The distance of the move and the impact on the child’s relationship with the parents and other key figures;
  4. Tthe child’s age;
  5. The parent’ ability to put the child’s interest above their own;
  6. Where appropriate, the preference of the child; and finally;
  7. The reasons for the move and whether relocation is made in bad faith to deprive the other parent of continuing contact with the children.

B. Home State Jurisdiction/UCCJEA

It is important to know that a move away is not the same as court jurisdiction over the matter.  Even if a party is able to move, the jurisdiction would remain in California IF that is where the petition for dissolution or petition for paternity originated. For example, if a parent was granted the right to move to Texas with the children then even after a year or a few years of the move the jurisdiction would remain in California.  Because jurisdiction is based upon where the child has lived for the first six months preceding the filing of the petition and not where the child currently lives.  This is because the courts do not want parents to be “forum shopping.” In other words, they do not want the parent to be moving around to find the best state, law wise, that would be most in their favor.  The area of move away orders is very complicated as UCCJEA factors come into play.  This is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act.  The country has provided home state jurisdictional factors to determine a child’s home state.

Move-a-ways are complicated matters and you must hire an attorney to properly litigate a move away- whether you are the party seeking the move or seeking to enjoin the move away.

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