«CHILD AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT [REVISED 2012] ABOUT CJER The California Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), as the Education Division of ...»
2. Guideline Components a. [§201.34] Time-Share With Children (H%) The time-share component (H%) represents the approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the child compared to the other parent. Fam C §4055(b)(1)(D). See Marriage of Katzberg (2001) 88 CA4th 974, 981, §201.35 California Judges Benchguide 201–32 106 CR2d 157 (time-share percentage is based on the parents’ respective periods of primary physical “responsibility” for the children rather than physical “custody”; the uniform guideline does not alter the current custody law in any manner). Some local court rules include time-sharing tables that assist the trial court in approximating the percentage of time the high earner parent has primary physical responsibility for his or her children. For a sample of a time-share table, see Appendix A.
JUDICIAL TIP: Many judges try not to use the terms “custodial” and “noncustodial” in favor of “parenting or coparenting schedules,” “parenting plans,” or “custody timeshares.” In emotionally charged disputes, “noncustodial parent” may appear to diminish the child-rearing contributions of the parent with less than an equal time-share.
In cases in which parents have different time-sharing arrangements for different children, H% equals the average of the approximate percentages of time the higher earner parent spends with each child. Fam C §4055(b)(1)(D).
(1) [§201.35] Imputed Time-Sharing Time-sharing may be properly imputed to a parent (or between parents) when the child is not in either parent’s physical custody. DaSilva v DaSilva (2004) 119 CA4th 1030, 1033, 15 CR3d 59. Imputed timesharing most commonly arises in situations in which a child is attending day care or school, and a parent desires credit for the time the child is not physically with him or her. Most courts will credit the time a child spends in day care or school to the custodial parent, unless the noncustodial parent raises the issue and produces evidence that he or she is primarily responsible for the child during the challenged times. 119 CA4th at 1034.
When determining time-share credits, the courts should consider the
following (119 CA4th at 1034–1035):
• Who pays for transportation or who transports the child.
• Who is designated to respond to medical or other emergencies.
• Who is responsible for paying tuition or incidental school expenses.
• Who participates in school activities, fundraisers, or other schoolrelated functions.
For an application of these factors, see Marriage of Whealon (1997) 53 CA4th 132, 145, 61 CR2d 559 (court rejected father’s argument that he should be given credit for time his son spends in day care because he pays half the tuition; mother has day-to-day responsibility of the child, i.e., burden to find, arrange, and front the money for day care, deliver and pick 201–33 Child Support and Spousal Support §201.37 up the child, and interrupt work days for medical or other emergencies).
See also Marriage of Katzberg, supra, 88 CA4th at 982–983 (time spent by child in boarding school imputed to father having primary custody of child; father paid for cost of transportation to and from school and incidental expenses; education trust that was being used to pay schoolrelated expenses represented majority share of father’s personal inheritance; mother refused to sign school contract; and it could be inferred that father would be responsible to respond to any emergency).
In addition to imputing time-share credits for time spent by a child in
day care or school, credits may be imputed in the following situations:
• Care of disabled child in out-of-home care. Time-sharing may be credited to a parent having full responsibility for the physical situation and care of a disabled adult child even though the child does not reside with the parent. Marriage of Drake (1997) 53 CA4th 1139, 1160, 62 CR2d 466.
• Grandparent visitation. When a court orders grandparent visitation under Fam C §3103 or §3104, the court may allocate a percentage of such visitation between the parents for purposes of calculating child support under the uniform guideline. Fam C §§3103(g)(1), 3104(i)(1).
(2) [§201.36] Time-Share Adjustment When One Parent Defaults or Fails To Appear In any default proceeding when proof is by affidavit under Fam C §2336, or in any child support proceeding when a party fails to appear at a noticed hearing, and there is no evidence presented demonstrating the percentage of time that the noncustodial parent has primary physical responsibility for the child, the time-share adjustment must be set as
follows (Fam C §4055(b)(6)):
• Zero if the noncustodial parent is the higher earner; or • 100 if the custodial parent is the higher earner.
Exception: The time-share adjustment may not be set if the moving party in a default proceeding is the noncustodial parent or if the party that fails to appear is the custodial parent. Fam C §4055(b)(6). A statement by the nondefaulting party as to the percentage of time the noncustodial parent has primary physical responsibility for the children shall be deemed sufficient evidence of time-share. Fam C §4055(b)(6).
b. [§201.37] Net Monthly Disposable Income (TN) The guideline requires that the court calculate the parents’ total net monthly disposable income. Fam C §4055(b)(2). Under Fam C §§4058– §201.38 California Judges Benchguide 201–34 4059, the court must first determine gross income of each parent, and then subtract the allowable deductions to arrive at the net disposable income of each parent. See §§201.5–201.30 for a comprehensive discussion of determining income available for child support.
c. [§201.38] Amount of Income Allocated for Child Support (“K”) The amount of both parents’ income allocated for child support (K) equals 1 plus H% (if H% is less than or equal to 50%) or 2 minus H% (if
H% is greater than 50%), multiplied by the following fraction:
• 0.20 + TN/16,000 if the total net disposable monthly income is $800 or less.
• 0.25 if the total net disposable monthly income is $801–$6,666.
• 0.10 + 1,000/TN if the total net disposable monthly income is $6,667–$10,000.
• 0.12 + 800/TN if the total net disposable monthly income is more than $10,000. Fam C §4055(b)(3).
For example, if H% equals 20%, and the parents’ total monthly net disposable income is $1,000, then K = (1 + 0.20) x 0.25, or 0.30. If H% equals 80%, and the parents’ total monthly net disposable income is $1,000, then K = (2 - 0.80) x 0.25, or 0.30. Fam C §4055(b)(3).
3. [§201.39] Child Support Amount for More Than One Child If there is more than one child, CS (the child support amount) is
multiplied by (Fam C §4055(b)(4)):
• 1.6 for 2 children • 2 for 3 children • 2.3 for 4 children • 2.5 for 5 children • 2.625 for 6 children • 2.75 for 7 children • 2.813 for 8 children • 2.844 for 9 children • 2.86 for 10 children 4. [§201.40] Allocation of Child Support Among Children Unless the court orders otherwise, the child support order must allocate the support amount so that the amount of support for the youngest 201–35 Child Support and Spousal Support §201.42 child is the amount of support for one child, and the amount for the next youngest child is the difference between that amount and the amount for two children, with similar allocations for additional children. Fam C §4055(b)(8).
Exceptions. This provision does not apply if there are different timesharing arrangements for different children or if the court determines that the allocation is inappropriate. Fam C §4055(b)(8). Nor does it apply for purposes of calculating a hardship deduction under Fam C §4071. For purposes of calculating the hardship deduction, the amount of support per child is the total amount ordered divided by the number of children. Fam C §4071(b). Hardship deductions are discussed in §§201.28–201.30.
5. [§201.41] Determining Who Is Payor The guideline formula calculates a single sum owed by one parent to the other. If the amount calculated under the formula results in a positive number, the higher earning parent must pay that amount to the lower earner parent. If the amount calculated under the formula results in a negative number, the lower earner must pay the absolute value of that amount to the higher earner. Fam C §4055(b)(5).
6. [§201.42] Low-Income Adjustment When the monthly net disposable income of the parent paying child support is less than $1,000, there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent is entitled to a low-income adjustment. Fam C §4055(b)(7).
If the presumption is not rebutted, the court must reduce the
presumed child support by an amount that is no greater than the lowincome adjustment, calculated as follows (Fam C §4057(b)(7)):
• [1000 – Payor’s Net Monthly Disposable Income] / 1000 = Adjustment Fraction
• Presumed Support Amount x Adjustment Fraction = Low-Income Adjustment JUDICIAL TIP: The low-income adjustment figure calculated under the formula is the maximum amount by which the court can reduce child support. Depending on the facts, the court may reduce the support by a lesser amount.
The presumption for a low-income adjustment may be rebutted if the parent receiving child support presents evidence showing that the application of the adjustment would be unjust and inappropriate. Fam C §4057(b)(7). To determine whether the presumption is rebutted, the court must consider the principles provided in Fam C §4053 (see §201.32) and the impact of the contemplated adjustment on the net incomes of both parents. Fam C §4055(b)(7).
§201.43 California Judges Benchguide 201–36 If the court uses a computer program to calculate the child support order, that program may not automatically default, either affirmatively or negatively, on whether a low-income adjustment applies. If the adjustment does apply, the computer program may not provide the amount of the adjustment but must ask the user whether to apply the adjustment; if answered affirmatively, the program may provide the allowable range of the adjustment. Fam C §4055(c).
7. [§201.43] Mandatory Findings on Request of Parties At the request of any party, the court must state, in writing or on the record, the following information it used to determine the guideline
amount of child support (Fam C §§4005, 4056(b)):
• Each parent’s net monthly disposable income.
• Each parent’s actual federal income tax filing status (e.g., single, married, married filing separately, or head of household, and number of exemptions).
• Each parent’s deductions from gross income.
• The approximate percentage of time each parent has primary physical responsibility for the children compared to the other parent.
8. [§201.44] Using Computer Software To Calculate Support Amount Virtually every family court uses a computer software program to assist in determining the appropriate amount of child support (or temporary spousal support). Trial courts may only use child support software that has been certified by the Judicial Council as meeting its standards. See Fam C §3830; Cal Rules of Ct 5.275.
There are five software programs certified by the Judicial Council for
use by the courts to determine child and/or spousal support. They include:
• CalSupport™ and CalSupport PRO™ (Nolo Press).
• DissoMaster™ (CFLR, Inc. now part of Thomson West).
• SupporTax™ (Thomson West).
• Xspouse™ (Tolapa, Inc.).
• California Guideline Child Support Calculator (California Department of Child Support Services).
In all nontitle IV-D proceedings, the court may use and must permit parties or attorneys to use any software certified by the Judicial Council under Cal Rules of Ct 5.275. Cal Rules of Ct 5.275(j)(2).
201–37 Child Support and Spousal Support §201.47 In all title IV-D proceedings, the court and parties and attorneys must use the Department of Child Support Services’ California Guideline Child Support Calculator software program. Cal Rules of Ct 5.275(j)(1).