Skip to content


How to Obtain a Child Support Order

There are different ways to obtain a child support order, such as: 

  • Couples can work with a private, family law mediator who acts as a neutral to help the couple reach an agreement. The mediator does not make any decisions but helps the parents decide the right amount of child support. The mediator drafts the agreement and submits it to the court after the parents both sign it. Then it becomes an order when the judge signs it.
  • One of the parents can file a Request for Order asking for a hearing date so that a judge can determine the amount of child support.
  • Parents can each hire Pasadena consulting attorneys who will negotiate with each other on the parents’ behalf.
  • One parent can start a case with Child Support Services Department (“CSSD”) who will handle the child support issue by working with the other parent first to see if there is an agreement. And if that is unsuccessful, CSSD will appear in court on behalf of the county (not on behalf of the parent). This process is mandatory if the custodial parent received TANF benefits.

How to Calculate Child Support

There is a formula for California State Guideline Child Support created by the State of California in the Family Code. The longhand math formula is complex and not likely to be used unless a parent or judge loves math. The formula takes a close look at each parent’s income, the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren), and tax consequences, among other things. Child support calculators are regularly used to determine Guideline child support rather than the longhand formula. In Los Angeles County, judges and lawyers typically use the Dissomaster child support calculator which requires a paid subscription. There is a free child support calculator provided by the State of California. Click here to use the free child support calculator.

It’s important to know that there are different ways to determine a parent’s income used for child support depending on whether the parent is a W-2 employee, self-employed, works overtime, receives bonuses, owns a business, etc. It’s best to consult with an attorney to find out details about income used for child support. In addition, each parent must fill out and give to the other parent a completed Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150).

What Are Child Support Arrearages?

If a parent was ordered to pay child support and missed one or more payments, then that parent owes child support arrearages, or back support. To calculate arrearages, add up the missed amounts of support and add interest accordingly. This may be difficult to do without a calculator and the know-how to calculate interest. Luckily, there is help here.

When Does Child Support Terminate?

The court has jurisdiction over the child(ren) and can order child support until the child turns 18 and graduates high school (or up to 19 years old if still in high school), or emancipates, marries or dies.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Child support can be modified as long as the court has jurisdiction over the child. Child support can be modified when there is a change of circumstances, like a change in income or other reasons. It’s best to consult with a child support attorney to learn more about modification.


Leave a Reply