In California, a father and mother have an equal responsibility to support their children in a manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.
When parents separate, one of the first things they should think about is child support. Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses.
Children need the financial support of both parents because they do better. They also have a right to it by law. California’s child support law is based on the principle that even though parents have separated or divorced, children should continue to benefit from the financial support of both parents, just like they would if the parents were still together.
That responsibility terminates when the child turns 18, the child dies, or the child becomes emancipated from the parents.
The information in this section explains parents’ child support responsibilities. It describes how to figure out what a parent should pay or expect to receive, as well as how to calculate other types of expenses. You will also find links to services that can help you and other types of resources.