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Child support and custody in the California courts are multifaceted matters that must address the various needs of a child. Child custody determinations establish where a child will reside; if and when he will see his noncustodial parent; and who will have power to make decisions about his health, education, and welfare. Such decisions are relatively subjective given the facts of the child’s case and are primarily based on making choices that serve the child’s best interests.

Child support, on the other hand, is often more objective. California families that are in need of setting up child support payments can use a child support calculator to determine who is liable for support and for how much money they will need to contribute to manage the financial needs of the child. The calculator is online and is available through the California state website.

The calculator asks a user a variety of questions regarding his financial health, income and other outstanding obligations. Those who choose to use it for calculating child support payments may need to pull together some personal documentation, such as prior tax returns, before beginning the data entry process. Further assistance regarding the computation of support may be garnered through contacting the state or by seeking assistance from a professional in the family law field.

In the event that a child’s custodial parent’s financial situation is better than that of his noncustodial parent, it may be that the noncustodial parent will not be called on to make support payments. This possibility is, however, completely dependent on the particular situation of the family and should not be relied upon as a guaranteed outcome when using the state’s online child support calculator. Individuals should remember that the state’s online child support calculator requires some legal knowledge to use. They may always inquire of their own counsel to address their personal legal needs.