Friday, August 26, 2011

Need to Calculate Child Support?

Use this site to calculate Califoria guideline child support:

This link takes you to the California Department of Child Support Services home page.

Click "Calculate Child Support" in the left menu bar that begins "I Need To..."

You'll need some basic financial information for each parent, such as monthly gross income (see my "What If She Quits Her Job" post if your ex used to work and is now unemployed), new spouse's monthly gross income (if applicable), mortgage interest and property taxes (also if applicable), Federal tax filing status, health insurance premiums, and uninsured health expenses. If you've been going through this process for a while, you may already have a copy of the other parent's Income and Expense Declaration, which should contain all of this information. If you don't know the other parent's property tax rate, you may be able to find it on your county assessor's website (like I did). Or try Googling your ex's may be surprised at what you can find online.

I highly recommend that you take the time to run your numbers on the State's calculator even if you've already had an attorney run your Dissomaster. Here's why...

My husband and I consulted with his former attorney to get her advice concerning the ongoing difficulties we've been having with his insane ex (a.k.a. "the devil"). We were sick to our stomachs at the end of our consultation. By her calculations, even though my husband's percentage of parenting time has increased, and the devil has remarried, her household expenses have been cut in half, and her income and lifestyle exceeds ours, if she took him back to court for increased child support (as she's recently been threatening), he would be ordered to pay an additional $500 a month!!!

Luckily, I remembered seeing something about a "future link" to a child support calculator on our County Court's self-help site, and thought it would be interesting to run our own calculations and compare the results.

Why? Because even though she's a terrific attorney and seems to genuinely have ours and my husband's children's best interests at heart, she's first and foremost a business woman. She may enjoy helping people, but - ultimately - she's in it for the money. She needs to constantly drum up new business (i.e. new lawsuits). She's not going to make money by simply advising us to leave well enough alone.

During our consultation, she first told us about the potential for a significant increase in child support, and then advised us that the only sure way to prevent this was to increase my husband's parenting time. (It should be noted that the devil is a nut job, and the children have been psychologically damaged by her, but we've "played this game" long enough to know that that's not enough to be granted sole physical custody, and maybe not even an increase in parenting time.) She further advised us that we, of course, shouldn't attempt this on our own: that the services of a good attorney would be necessary. (Of course.)

My husband and I are not made of money, and we're talking a $6K+ child custody evaluation plus at least a $10K attorney retainer just to get things started.

(As an aside, a close friend of mine went through this process last year. His child custody evaluator recommended that he be granted sole legal and physical custody of his two children, and that his ex have supervised bi-monthly visits. It made no difference. The judge in his case ordered that custody would stay as it had been: shared legal and 50/50 physical. All that time, energy, stress and expense...and no change.)

Anyway, our results were vastly different from those we'd received at his attorney's office, even though we'd supposedly run the same data. In one scenario, my husband's support would decrease $49 a month; in another, by $21. In a third, it would increase $173 a month; and in the last, by $380...versus our attorney's increases of $500 in the first three scenarios and $136 in the fourth.

We feel MUCH better today knowing that there's a very good chance that should the devil take my husband back to court yet again, that we may once again come away relatively unscathed. Whew!

Check out the's so worth your time. And it's FREE!!