Child support is a monetary payment that a noncustodial (or sometimes custodial) parent pays toward the living expenses of their children. The amount of child support is based on California Guidelines for each county, and the primary three components are each parent’s income and allowable expenses, such as medical insurance premiums, mandatory retirement contributions, etc. and the amount of custody time each parent has with their child. In addition, there are mandatory “add-on” expenses such as child care in order for either parent to work or attend school, out of pocket medical and dental expenses. Additional add-on expenses can be private school tuition, extracurricular activities, or special needs like tutoring or extraordinary medical expenses.

Child support is usually not based on how much money either parent spends per month, or how much money one or the other parent would like to receive. In cases where one parent is a very high earner, the guidelines may not apply and the child’s needs will be accessed to determine an appropriate support award. Although child support payments often can be agreed upon between parents, a knowledgeable family law can explain how it is calculated and help you finalize fair, precise terms.

Child support typically terminates when a child turns 18 and has graduated from high school, or 19 if still in school. However, there are circumstances when support can continue indefinitely such as situations where an adult child is physically or mentally disabled.


Ruben/Huggins provides family law and divorce attorney representation to clients in Northern California. Including San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Sonoma County and Santa Clara County.