Child/Spousal Support
The True Meaning of Child Support

The funny thing about child support is that the person paying the support thinks that he/she is paying too much and the person receiving support thinks that it is not enough. What is child support and how does the court decide how much it should be?

Simply put, child support is meant to contribute to the support of the minor children of a relationship (marriage or otherwise). The child support paid by the supporting party is a contribution and as a general rule does not cover all expenses for the child(ren). This is because the California legislature has stated that “the father and the mother of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support their child…” (Family Code §3900). There are also circumstances in which child support is paid beyond the child reaching the age of majority. Primarily that would be when the parties agree otherwise, or if the child is incapacitated and unable to care for himself/herself.

The court uses a computer program to determine the amount of child support to be paid, it is not an arbitrary figure. The mathematical formula which is the basis of the computer program is found in Family Code §4055 and reads: CS = K [HN-(H%)(TN)]. Now you know why the court relies upon a computer. Basically, the parties net income is used to determine the amount of child support, along with a few other factors. But, net income does not mean the net paycheck amount, it means what the legislature has decided the net income should be. Not considered are contributions to a voluntary retirement program, disability insurance, voluntary wage deductions, etc. Considered are things such as taxes paid and mandatory retirement (for those who do not pay the FICA portion of Social Security).

The money is meant to be for the children’s benefit, not for the benefit of the person receiving the money. That does not mean that the money is to be given directly to the children. Nor, does the person receiving the money have to account for where the money is spent. It is meant to contribute to housing, food, clothing and other general expenses. Medical expenses are extra, as are child care expenses.

The thing to always remember is:

If you are the person paying child support, that even though the check is being made out to the other parent, the money is for the benefit of your child(ren).

And, if you are the person receiving the support, that the other person is not obligated to pay for all of the child’s expenses, but for a portion of them.


Edwards-Swift & Associates | Family Law & Divorce Attorney Chino | Hills, CA

When my case was passed onto Pam to take over after a previous associate left the company I was nervous. We met for the first time at the court house, heading into court to set trial dates.
We had a break before coming back in and grabbed a bite to eat. I was able to speak with her freely, as if she were a friend. (A very expensive friend haha)
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The results of the custody battle were in my favor, thanks to her.

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Brittany R., Las Vegas, NV

My husband and I reached out to Pam for custody and child support dispute for my 5 year old step son almost a year ago. These situations are never easy but having a knowledgeable attorney made a world of difference. We worked with Pam and her para-legal Evelyn and we couldn’t be happier with end result. I would highly recommend Pam and her team if you’re looking for someone to look out for your and your child’s best interest.

Licet T., Chino, CA

I am grateful for Pam Swift and her staff! They were supportive and understanding during my time of need. Unfortunately due to my cases particular circumstances, it took years to handle. But in the end, her services blessed us with freedom from one of the most traumatic times of our lives.

Jennifer Reimer

OUTSTANDING Attorney. Took care of business, went on the offensive and balanced the scales. Very much appreciate Pamela’s care and understanding of my situation. Could not be happier with the results!

Steve D.

Pamela Edwards-Swift was a life saver when I had to take my ex back to court to gain primary custody of my daughter. Throughout the entire process, Ms. Swift clearly explained the process, set very clear expectations with me regarding each phase of the court proceedings, made solid recommendations to me which helped me decide on the best overall situation for my daughter. Our custody battle took just over one year, and what impressed me most about Ms. Swift is the results we got happened exactly as she said it would! I highly recommend Ms. Swift!

Mike Rodgers

Pam and her team exceeded my expectations. I’ve never had to higher a lawyer before and I met with a few before her. I felt comfortable, reassured and that she had not only mine but my daughters best interest for my case. I highly recommend her. She has years of experience in all types of family law cases.

Christina Hradisky

I have known Pam Swift professionally for the last ten years.  She is professional, knowledgeable, cares about ther clients and looks for amicable ways of handling very tough situations.  I highly recommend her.

Dr. Betty U.

I found Ms Swift to be a top notch attorney who has both experience and integrity. My estate attorney referred me to her because she had worked with her on a number of cases and was impressed with her ethical skills and personable style. I have nothing but praise for the way she and her team, especially her paralegal, Evelyn, handled my divorce. My case was somewhat complex and yet they doggedly worked their way through it always looking out for my best interests with a positive attitude. She and her staff easily have my 5 star vote!

Andrea G., Sierra Madre, CA

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