How Much Is Child Support for One Child in CA?


Getting divorced when a child is involved means that one parent will most likely be required to pay child support to the other until the child turns at least 18. Whether you are the parent expecting to pay or receive child support after getting divorced in California, estimating the value of the payment can help you plan for your future. California uses specific guidelines when calculating child support payment amounts.

What Factors Are Used When Calculating Child Support?

Child support is part of almost all divorce settlements that involve children. The courts believe that a child should not suffer financially because of a divorce. To protect the best interests of the child and allow the child to maintain the same quality of life that he or she enjoyed prior to the divorce, the courts will order one parent – typically, the noncustodial parent – to pay monthly child support to the other parent.

Several factors are involved in a child support calculation in California, including:

  • How much money each parent earns or can potentially earn.
  • The number of children.
  • The percentage of time the child will spend with each parent is based on a child custody agreement.
  • Necessary childcare costs.
  • The tax filing status of each parent.
  • Any child support that comes from other relationships.
  • Monthly expenses, such as insurance or health care costs.
  • Any special needs that the child has.


There is no one-size-fits-all approach to child support payments. Instead, parents creating a settlement agreement or the courts awarding child support must carefully calculate an accurate amount based on the family’s specific circumstances. In addition, every state has its own child support guidelines to calculate the required amount.

California Child Support Guidelines 

In general, the greater the disparity between each parent’s income and the less time the higher earner spends with the child, the greater the financial obligation will be for the higher earner. However, the legal guidelines used in California courts are as follows: 

  • Each parent will calculate his or her net disposable monthly income by adding up income from all sources and subtracting certain expenses, including taxes, mandatory union dues, health premiums, and child or spousal support from another relationship.
  • The estimated amount of time each parent will spend with the child is calculated and turned into a percentage.
  • The costs of childcare, visitation and travel, school expenses, and uninsured health care expenses will be calculated for the child.
  • The California child support calculator will use the equation K(HN-(H%)(TN)), where K is both parents’ combined total income, HN is high net (the higher earner’s net monthly disposable income), H% is the percentage of time the high earner will spend with the child and TN is the combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents.

Most estimates say that the average amount paid in child support for one child is around $430 per month. However, each case is unique. Ultimately, the judge in a child support case or the child support commissioner has the final say in how much a parent must pay in child support, but California’s basic guidelines and equation are generally adhered to, in most cases. 

Contact a Family Law Attorney for an Accurate Idea of Child Support for One Child

Since many different factors unique to each family go into a child support calculation, the best way to estimate how much you may be required to pay or eligible to receive in your divorce case is by contacting a family law attorney in California. The financial information that you will need to bring to your case consultation with a child support attorney includes your tax returns, paycheck stubs, and W2s or 1099s. You should also bring information about how much you spend on childcare, insurance premiums, job-related expenses, spousal or child support paid to other relationships, and any extraordinary healthcare expenses.