How to Calculate Child Support

Child support is the periodic payment made by parents to financially help their child following a divorce. By providing your child with day to day expenses, you are fulfilling a parental obligation. Estimating the amount requires understanding of various factors such as income, state regulations and the use of online calculators.


  • 1

    Determine income

    The first step is to gather financial documents which will help estimate income of both parents. Gather all the information such as income generated from pensions, trusts etc. That will further determine whether you are eligible for child support payments. You will also need to take into account certain court orders that have been applied in your case. In case of joint custody, a scenario could arise where one spouse will pay the other for child support.

  • 2

    Check State regulations

    Each state will have its own regulations for child support. Here you will need to determine the monthly disposable income. For instance, in California, the formula is to calculate is CS=K [HN-(H %)( TN)], where HN refers to the disposable income of the higher-earning parent, TN is added disposable income of both parents, H% is the percentage paid by the higher earning parent and K is the added percentage of both parents, depending on the number of children.  Most states follow a general rule by taking into account the amount payable on the parent’s income (in percentage).

  • 3

    Child support calculators

    You can further determine the payments by inserting certain figures into an online child support calculator. It will give you an estimate on the amount you will need to pay or receive as part of your child support program. The Child support Family assistance estimator is another way of gauging the total amount, but that is applicable to certain family situations.

  • 4


    In cases, where the estimator cannot be applied, one can use Worksheets to determine the payable amount for each child. It will range from a basic formula, to situations such as dependent children allowance calculations or estimating for two or more child support cases. For the latter, refer to the basic formula after calculating the amount.

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