How Does California Calculate Child Support Payments?


Determining proper child support payment amounts is one of the most important tasks the court must handle for any Pasadena divorce that involves minor children. California law states that both parents have a legal responsibility to provide support for their children, regardless of whether they choose to remain married.

The California Family Law Code lists an algebraic formula for determining child support payments: CS = K (HN - (H%)(TN)). CS=child support, K=a factor of both parent's income allocated for support, HN=the net disposable earnings of the higher income spouse, TN=the net disposable earnings of both of the spouses combined, and H%=the percentage of time the higher earning spouse is physically responsible for the child. However, this formula is seldom used in practice. Since the formula asks for net disposable income, there is too much room for human error.

The DissoMaster program is specialized computer software that is certified by the California Judicial Council for use in making support calculations. The DissoMaster program evaluates multiple factors to determine the disposable monthly income of both parents, thus creating a more accurate child support payment guideline. California has been using the DissoMaster program to calculate child support payments for over 20 years.

There are many different websites online that promise to calculate anticipated child support payments for you. However, most of these sites are using simple versions of the basic formula in the California Family Law Code. They are not considering as many factors as the DissoMaster program does when making its calculations. If you use online child support calculators, be advised that their accuracy is far from guaranteed.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions regarding child support payments in the state of California, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena family law lawyers are eager to provide you with the assistance you need to move forward with your post-divorce life.