Child Support
Average Child Support Payment in California 2024

Average Child Support Payment in California 2024

October 17, 2023

California is ranked as the second most expensive state for child support, second only to Hawaii. This is primarily due to the fact that the cost of living is so high there, so the amount family court requires for child support reflects that. It is important to speak with a California family lawyer if you have questions regarding the recent laws that modified child support statutes in CA.

The new law presumes that the primary parent with whom the child resides already spends a great deal of resources on the child. Therefore, typically, the other parent pays child support to the primary parent. However, the courts will consider rebuttals regarding this factor.

Average Child Support Payment in California

Aside from this factor, there is little room for negotiation with the courts regarding child support payments, specifically when it comes to the amount that the paying parent is ordered to pay the parent receiving support.

In fact, California practices mandated guideline child support, which fixes the amount a parent must pay in accordance with a precise formula that factors in a number of family-specific details to determine payment amounts. Consequently, the amount for one family could be vastly different from that of another.

Only in very rare cases does the amount diverge from the guidelines. The child support formula was updated in 2024. Current influencing factors on child support are listed below.

  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child, according to the proposed parenting plan
  • Any special needs or medical expenses the child has
  • Income of each parent
  • Parents’ assets
  • Residence of both parents (cost of rent or mortgage)
  • Employment and earnings history
  • Job skills
  • Literacy/Level of education
  • Health status
  • Age of both parents
  • Criminal background / other barriers that can hinder employment potential
  • Availability of opportunity in the local job market
  • History of seeking employment
  • Opportunity for employers willing to hire the parent
  • Local earning potential in the community
  • The cost of health insurance for the parent who pays for it
  • Any other children in the home and whether they are also supported
  • Any other children that the paying parent supports in another home (s)
  • Mandatory retirement withholdings
  • Union dues
  • Other relevant employment, situational, and background factors that affect the earning abilities of the parent

The new law incorporates multiple new variables that must go into the equation when the courts determine support payment amounts. The guidelines are much more complicated but, at the same time, more accurate. With these new variables, it makes it just about impossible for the child support amount a parent will be required to pay to be estimated.

It is hard not only for a parent trying to gauge what their contribution may be but also for the traditional online calculators that attempt to estimate payment amounts.

Because payments vary greatly, the average required amount for CA child support may be very far off what any particular parent may be ordered to pay because it is based on income and case-specific particulars. Nevertheless, the average payment for one child is around $600 per month, which falls between the low end of around $400 and the higher end of around $800.

The ideal situation would be for a parent to hire a Southern California child support lawyer to advise their case. Not only can an attorney assist parents in predicting a more accurate estimate, but they can also represent parents in court to get the most accurate, affordable payment amount possible.

For this reason, it is not recommended parents attempt to represent themselves in a child support case or even at a child support hearing. Having an experienced child support lawyer act on their behalf can return the most optimal results for their case.


Q: What Is the New 2024 Child Support Law in California?

A: The new 2024 California child support law requires the CA family court to consider a number of additional factors regarding employment history and earnings potential, among other things, to determine the monthly amount a parent will be required to pay in child support.

While the new law may be a more complicated means of determining these payments, the updated format is designed to make support payments an adequate amount for covering expenses but also a more realistically affordable amount for the paying parent.

Q: How Much Should a Father Pay for Child Support in California?

A: While the father isn’t always the paying parent for child support in California, the average payment is around $600 per month for one child. Additional children will increase the payment amount. This can be an estimate of potential court-ordered child support payments for either the mother or the father of a child.

Q: How Do I Avoid Paying Child Support in California?

A: California law does not allow for parents to waive child support, even if both parents agree to it. It is not considered to be in the interest of a child for their non-custodial parent to not pay child support. The receiving parent is the only parent who would be legally not required to pay child support. In other words, one parent must pay child support payments to the other parent.

In rare cases, a child support order may be set to zero if it is found that both parents contribute equally to the child’s well-being and earn the same income.

Q: How Does the Court Calculate Child Support in California?

A: California family court calculates child support payments using a complex formula that factors in a number of case-specific details, from parents’ income to local job markets and many other variables. The most effective way to determine a fair and affordable child support payment is to consult with a California family lawyer.

Asking a California Family Law Attorney

As mentioned, consulting with a California family lawyer is ideal for estimating potential child support payments. An attorney can also assist you in getting a more accurate and affordable payment. Contact the Edgar & Dow to discuss your case. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in family law and can help you understand the laws and apply them to your case.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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