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Are you having trouble paying your child support order? Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be entitled to a deduction.
First, we have to acknowledge that California child support uses a “Guideline” calculation. The Guideline takes into consideration the number of children, both parties’ income, certain deductions from income, and the proportion of time each party spends with the child/ren. Using the same calculation in every case leads to uniform application of the law. The exact formula can be found in Family Code section 4055 and is somewhat complex. Thankfully, there is software to greatly simplify the calculation.
Under certain circumstances, California law recognizes that the Guideline may need to be adjusted. Family Code section 4070 states that extreme financial hardship due to justifiable expenses resulting from specified circumstances may be taken into consideration. The “specified circumstances” are listed in Family Code section 4071, and include: extraordinary health expenses and uninsured catastrophic losses; expenses for children of other legal relationships residing with the parent. So, Section 4071 limits the so-called “hardship deductions” to only two circumstances, but they are common circumstances that apply to many cases.
When the hardship deduction is applied to the parent paying child support, child support will likely be lower than without the deduction.