2024 What Is the Average Child Support Payment in California?

After a divorce or separation, couples with children will have to go through the often tense process of determining child support. State law uses child support to ensure both parents are financially responsible for a child even if they dissolve the marriage.

One of the biggest questions people ask their attorneys during the process is how much they will have to pay for child support. While we can’t tell you exactly how much you might have to pay, we can supply the average child support payments in California to give you an idea of the price.

How Does Child Support Work in California?

During the divorce process, both parties can choose to either mediate and determine the terms of a divorce or go to a judge to have them rule on the matter. Child support works to ensure both parents are financially supporting a child until they turn 18. Once the child is a legal adult, all support payments stop.

When determining child support, a judge will look at numerous factors to dictate who should pay any child support money and how much. The main factors a judge looks at are:

  • Parents’ income – The judge will see which parent makes more money and the level of wealth each parent controls.
  • Level of need – If one parent will likely be living in squalor and the other will enjoy a comfortable life, a judge may seek to even the playing field.
  • Custody Judges will give preference to parents who spend the most time with a child when determining child support payments. The judge assumes a parent who spends the most time with a child will be spending more money day-to-day on the child and need assistance with payments from the other party.
  • Certain accommodations for a child – Children with disabilities or who have any special accommodations that cost the parents money will factor into any payments for child support. Judges will award more money to parents in these cases since child care is more expensive than the average.

California uses a formula to determine how much a parent should pay to the other party in child support. The larger the gap between the parents’ income and means, the more the other party will owe in child support. For instance, a mother who spends 85 percent of the time with the child will get more in child support than a father who spends 55 percent of the time with the child.

What Is the Average Child Support Payment in California?

Now that we understand what child support is, its aims, and how judges calculate it, we can look at some averages for payouts. Remember, every child support determination is different, so these averages may not apply to your situation. Consulting a lawyer is a smart way to get a ballpark estimate for your payments.

The average child support payment in California comes in at around $500 per month. Other estimates put the number at around $425 on the low end and approximately $800 for a high average. Of course, these numbers are just a rough estimate of what the average person pays monthly for child support.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Negotiate Different Child Support Payments?

A family law attorney can assist you when you wish to modify your child support payments. The simplest way to modify your child support payments is to speak with the other party and see if they are amenable to a change. In these cases, your attorney can go to a judge and file the paperwork to rework your payments.

If the other party is not agreeable to the alteration, your attorney can go to court and file an appeal for a reduction or increase in payments. You must have a reason to change a child support settlement, such as a change in income or housing. Judges may also be amenable to ordering a change if the two parties change their custody arrangements.


Q: What Are a Father’s Rights in California for Child Support?

A: California law says fathers have the same rights as mothers when it comes time to make determinations for child support and custody. If the mother has a higher income than the father, who spends more time with the child after the divorce, the court will make the mother pay child support to the father. There is no preference in California toward one parent when deciding on child support.

Q: How Does California Determine Child Support?

A: California looks at four main factors when determining the child support amount after a divorce. The court looks at the income of both parents, the percentage of custody each parent has, special accommodations or expenses for the child, and the living situation of both parents after the divorce. The state attempts to make parents with more income and less custody pay the other party.

Q: What Is the Average Child Support Payment for One Child in California?

A: The average child support payment for a single child in California is around $500, though estimates vary depending on the sample size of the data. A family attorney should be able to give you a more personalized estimate, as this number varies depending on both parent’s income and living situation.

Q: At What Age Does a Parent Stop Paying Child Support in California?

A: Children who are 18 years old and have graduated high school will no longer be eligible for child support. The court may order a parent to continue to pay child support in the event the child is 19, still in high school, and unmarried. Parents may petition the court to alter their child support payments if their life situation changes.

Moranda Law Firm, APC: Your Child Support Attorney in Anaheim, CA

Family law is complex and emotionally charged. If you’re having issues with child support, we can help you at Moranda Law Firm, APC. Beverly D. Moranda is a tireless fighter for family law cases and can help with any child support needs. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and to discuss the details of your situation.

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