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California's Laws on Changing Child Support Based on the Time Spent with Each Parent.

Understanding California's Child Support Laws and Parenting Time

In California, child support arrangements are determined with the child's best interests in mind. While several factors influence child support, one critical aspect is the amount of time a child spends with each parent. This article explores how changes in parenting time can affect child support payments in California.

California's Laws on Changing Child Support Based on the Time Spent with Each Parent. image

Calculating Child Support in California

California uses a statewide formula (often referred to as the "guideline") for calculating child support, which considers both parents' incomes and the amount of time they spend with their children. This guideline is complex and takes into account various deductions and credits, ensuring that the child support amount reflects both parents' financial responsibilities towards their children.

Impact of Parenting Time on Child Support

The time-sharing ratio is a significant component in determining child support. If a non-custodial parent spends more time with their child, it may result in a decrease in child support payments. Conversely, if the custodial parent's time increases, they may be entitled to more support.

An example of this would be if a non-custodial parent who previously had the children 20% of the time changes to having them 50% of the time. This substantial increase in parenting time can be grounds for a modification of child support, potentially resulting in lowered payments.

Modifying Child Support Due to Changes in Parenting Time

To alter child support based on a change in parenting time, the concerned parent must request a review from the local child support agency or file a motion with the court. The court will then examine whether there has been a "significant change in circumstances" since the last order was made.

What Constitutes a Significant Change?

Examples of changes that might warrant a modification include:

If such changes are proven, the court may modify the child support order to reflect the current situation better.

Historical Reference for Child Support Adjustments

In 2012, California Assembly Bill 1092 was introduced to clarify that parenting time should be considered when determining child support payments. This legislative action underscored the importance of parental involvement and its impact on financial obligations.


In summary, California law recognizes that parenting time can significantly affect child support arrangements. Parents experiencing changes in custody or visitation should understand that they may petition for an adjustment to their child support obligation. As family dynamics evolve, it is crucial to ensure that support orders remain fair and responsive to the actual needs and contributions of both parents.