Calculating Time for Child Support in California

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Parenting time percentage is the amount of time that each parent spends with their children. Called "custodial timeshare" or "custodial percentage timeshare" in California, it has a direct impact on the amount of child support a parent must pay.
The county child support commissioner or family law judge authorizes the final child support order, using all income from all sources and the percentage of time the child is cared for by each parent as some of the determining factors.
Generally, parents who spend less physical time with their children are responsible for paying child support. The less time the parent spends with the child, the more they must pay. It's a simple concept that can be a complex calculation, especially given the variety of available timeshare arrangements between the parents.

Percentage based on the yearly schedule

California calculates parenting time percentage using per year. Based on the timeshare arrangement, parents add the number of visitation hours per year and divide that number by 8,760 (the total number of hours in one year). 
As part of its online child support calculator, the California Child Support Services offers a visitation timeshare chart that does the math for you. Parents can choose from a table of around 40 timeshare arrangements. The sum of all the percentages is the total percentage time for use in the judge's child support decision.
For example, a typical visitation schedule may include:
  • Alternate weekends (14.25%)
  • One overnight per week (14.2%)
  • Two weeks over summer break (3.85%)
The total percentage, in this case, is 32.3%.
Other standard timeshare arrangements may include:
  • One weekend per month (6.58%)
  • One extended weekend per month (9.86%)
  • Two weekends per month (13.15)
  • One weekend per month, plus one evening per week (13.70%)
  • One overnight per week (14.2%)
  • Alternate weekends (14.25%)
  • First, third and fifth weekends (15.34%)
  • First, third and fifth extended weekends (21.37%)
  • First, third and alternate
    extended weekends (21.37%)
  • Alternate extended weekends (21.40%)
  • Alternate weekends, 1/2 holidays plus 1/2 summer (22.47%)
  • Alternate weekends, 1/2 holidays, 1 evening/week, four summer weeks (28.23%)
  • Alternate weekends, one overnight per week when school is in session and half of the school vacation (28.49%)
  • Alternate weekends, half-holidays, plus half of the summer (22.47%)
  • Alternate extended weekends, plus one overnight per week (35.62%)
  • Alternate weekends, one overnight per week, half of the holidays, plus one month during summer
  • Alternate weekends, one overnight per week, plus the entire summer (30%)
In all these calculations, a "weekend" is Friday from 5:00 p.m. to Sunday at 5:00 p.m. An "extended weekend" is Friday after school until Monday when school starts.

Getting Visitation Time Guidance

Ultimately, the county child court commissioner or family law judge determines the amount of child support owed. The calculations posted here should be used as estimates, not guarantees of child support.
If you want more information on calculating child support, you should always consult with a lawyer who can assist you through this complicated process. The Talking Parents Lawyer Directory can help you find family law attorneys in your area. 

TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.

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