When might a court deviate from the Child Support Guidelines?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Divorce |

Like other states, California has Child Support Guidelines that family law courts are supposed to follow.

One reason for these Guidelines is to be sure that parents facing the same circumstances also pay the same amounts of child support for their children. Generally speaking, courts will apply these Guidelines without changes.

However, California’s lawmakers recognize that there are some situations in which applying these Guidelines might not be fair to a parent or to the child.

The law gives courts some reasons they can use to order support other than the amount called for in the formula set out in the Guidelines.

Either parent may try to convince the judge that applying the formula strictly would be unjust. The law lists a number of reasons why a straight up application of the formula might not be appropriate:

  • When one parent’s income is so high that their support order would more than meet the needs of the parent’s children;
  • There is a special situation involving parenting time, such as when a parent is watching their children but not meeting their financial needs or when parents are seeing their children on different schedules;
  • The children have special needs.

A court may also order a parent to pay additional expenses

In addition to child support, California’s courts are also supposed to order parents to pay their fair share of uninsured medical expenses and certain childcare expenses.

It is not required, but courts may also order parents to pay certain educational costs, like school tuition for example, or other expenses that serve to meet a child’s special needs.

Again, parents are responsible for these amounts above and beyond whatever amount the formula in the Child Support Guidelines calls for.

Parents in Torrance and the surrounding communities who feel like their situations require some consideration when it comes to child support may have legal options. They should not assume that they are stuck with the figure the Guidelines provide.