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California Child Support: The DissoMaster

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Feb 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

No one can deny that parents must support their children, so child support is a mandatory component of a divorce action. However, the exact amount ordered was a serious point of contention at one time when child support amounts were mostly at the discretion of the court. A California judge would review combined parental income and make an arbitrary decision on which parent should pay and how much.

Without firm guidelines in place, two parents with comparable incomes could end up paying different amounts. It was an alarmingly arbitrary system that had noncustodial parents justifiably frustrated. To standardize child support payments in California, a formula was developed and incorporated into a software program called the DissoMaster.

The DissoMaster, which is also used to calculate spousal support payments, is used by practically all California family law practices to determine guideline child support amounts. One of the few programs certified by the California Judicial Council for use in making support calculations, it arrives at a legally appropriate child support amount after key financial details such as parental income and child care costs are entered into the program.

What's Included?

There are certain items that are included in every DissoMaster calculation while others must be entered by the attorneys or propria personas (parties representing themselves). Core items that are automatically included are:

  • The income of both parents
  • The number of children requiring support
  • The percentage of time each parent spends with the children
  • Tax filing status
  • Number of tax exemptions claimed by each party
  • Itemized deductions such as property tax or mortgage interest payment, and
  • Many other items.

Other deductions are a trickier matter because they are not an automatic part of the formula yet they can significantly affect the amount of child support that must be paid. They include:

  • Health insurance premiums that you pay for yourself and the children
  • Union dues
  • Mandatory retirement (generally applies to government employees who must contribute to their own retirement plans)

DissoMaster was not the first program to calculate support in California, but its efficient workspace resulted in widespread acceptance among the courts, family law offices, and other DissoMaster users. It is presently certified by the Judicial Council of California.

If you are required to pay child support in California and have questions about the DissoMaster calculations, please call Ahluwalia Law P.C. today. We will review your financial circumstances and family situation and help you arrive at a support amount that benefits both the children and your own financial stability.

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