Where does child support money go?

Divorced California parents who receive or pay child support might be unaware that the money can go towards more than just financially supporting a child. In California, the money can also be used for repaying the state for the recipient’s state aid.

One typical case involved a mother of five, who works full-time and her ex-husband and father of three of the children, who receives public assistance. The parents share custody of the children, with the children staying with the father three days a week. The mother has to pay $475 in monthly child support. Of that amount, $425 goes to the state as repayment for part of the husband’s public assistance and $50 goes to the husband. The mother pays an additional $25 to the state for back payments for aid received by her ex-husband.

California child support policies make the calculation of the support amount for the most part uniform and very rigid, and for judges to change the amount resulting from the calculations they must also present written evidence for their decision. The state calculator uses a formula that includes each parent’s net income, the number of children they have, how much time each parent spends with the children, as well as factors such as if a parent has been forced into retirement and health insurance.

The idea behind this formula is that the standard of living of the children must be balanced between the two households, which means that a parent with primary custody might still have to pay support to a parent who has the children only on weekends, to cover their stay with that parent. A family law attorney can often provide further information on these matters.