Am I Paying Too Much for Child Support?

According to the most recent statistics on, the mean child support due was $6050 annually. The mean child support actually paid was $3770, which is about $315 per month. These figures are based on 2011 and are national, not California – specific, but they give interesting context to the questions of whether you are paying too much child support or whether you are paying too little child support. This article is a brief overview of the basics of child support. For more information about child support or for help collecting unpaid child support payments, feel free to contact David Knecht at

Q. What is child support?

Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent to pay each month to help support the child (or children).

Q. Who decides how much child support I have to pay?

The amount of child support ordered to pay is calculated by the court or the parties can agree on a child support amount.

Q. How is child support calculated?

The parents of the child have the option to agree upon the amount of child support. If the parents cannot agree upon the amount of support, California has certain “guidelines” for calculating child support. These guidelines include:

  • How much money the parents earn or can earn
  • How much other income each parent receives
  • How many children these parents have together
  • How much time each parent spends with their children (time share)
  • The actual tax filing status of each parent
  • Support of children from other relationships
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • The cost of sharing daycare and uninsured health-care costs

Q. What do I have to pay in addition to child support?

In addition to the monthly child support that is paid, a child support order may require that parents share other or additional costs such as:

  • Child care
  • Children’s reasonable health-care expenses
  • Traveling for visitation from 1 parent to another
  • Children’s education needs
  • Other special needs

Q. When can I stop paying child support?

Typically court ordered child support ends when the child turns 18 years of age.

Child support can be a complex issue. If you’re required to pay child support, it may be in your best interest to seek representation by David Knecht, an experienced Family Law attorney.