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Using online calculators to estimate child support

When California parents of minor children end their marriage, it is likely that the non-custodial parent will pay child support to help the primary caregiver with the costs of child-rearing. To get an idea of how much in child support they may be responsible for paying each month, some turn to online child support calculators. However, it is important to note that these calculators may not be entirely accurate due to a variety of factors.

Every state offers parents tools that allow them to estimate their potential child support payments. These can range from an online calculator to downloadable worksheets. The information a parent will need to estimate the child support payments include his or her income, the amount of time the parent spends with the child and any tax credits or other benefits the parent may receive.

While the estimator can give parents a ballpark figure, judges have some leeway to interpret situations differently than a parent might. For example, a judge may find that a parent spends more time with the children than was originally estimated.

There are additional factors that could have an impact on the amount of child support a parent will be ordered to pay. These factors may include day care expenses, school tuition and health care costs. However, parents should still not be forced to go into debt when being ordered to make child support payments. When a judge is determining child support based on a parent's unique set of circumstances, a family law attorney could assist with gathering the parent's financial documentation that shows the parent's income, medical debt and other expenses that could impact his or her ability to pay child support.

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