How Much Child Support Is "Too Much?"


Child Support Artwork

According to Pasadena family law lawyers, it's a common misconception that child support is only supposed to cover a child's basic needs. The courts have consistently upheld the belief that both parents have a financial responsibility to their child after a divorce. However, what financial responsibility means is dependent upon the income of the parents.

For parents with low incomes, support amounts may be just enough to cover modest living arrangements. In the case of parents with extreme wealth, child support amounts can be very high because there is an assumption that the child deserves to maintain a similar standard of living after the divorce. Judges make decisions based on the best interests of the child and no judge is going to allow a child to live in a one-bedroom apartment when his non-custodial parent is staying in a spacious mansion and taking trips to Tahiti.

For example, it was recently reported that Katie Holmes will be receiving $33,000 per month in child support for Suri Cruise. Since the average amount of child support received by parents in the United States is less than $5,000 per year, this may seem like an outrageous sum. However, Tom Cruise has a $250 million fortune and many lawyers speculate Katie could have gotten more support if she took the case to court. Katie, who enjoys a successful career of her own, appears to have settled for a more modest support amount in exchange for a quick divorce.

There is no legal maximum amount of child support that a parent could be ordered to pay. Child support amounts are figured based on the non-custodial parent's income. The more a parent earns, the more he or she can expect to pay.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about how child support amounts are calculated during a divorce here in California or if you know of someone who can use our help, please contact our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at

Remember, it is always best to address this type of issue with an attorney that specializes in this area of law. There are general calculators online, but these often don't take into account all of the variables a judge will consider when setting support amounts.