Child Support FAQs

Child Support Questions

Q: Which computer programs to determine child support calculations under the California uniform child support guideline are certified by the Judicial Council pursuant to California Family Code section 3830 and Rule 5.275 of the California Rules of Court?

A: The following programs have been certified by the Judicial Council:

  1. CalSupport and CalSupport PRO http://www.nolotech.com/
  2. DissoMaster http://www.cflr.com/products/dissomaster.php
  3. Xspouse http://www.xspouse.com/
  4. SupporTax http://www.cflr.com/products/supportax.php; and
  5. California Guideline Child Support Calculator (DCSS), https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse/guidelineCalculator

The fifth calculator on this list was created by the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). There are two versions of this calculator. The first is integrated into DCSS' case management system for use by local child support agency staff and child support commissioners in calculating support for cases open in the local child support agency. The second is the public version, is on the internet and is freely accessible to all. For detailed instruction on how to use this guideline calculator, see DCSS' California Guideline Child Support Calculator User Guide. DCSS developed this calculator as a condition of receiving federal funding for the child support program. California Rule of Court 5.275(j) requires that in all title IV-D child support cases (when the local child support agency provides services), DCSS' calculator be used by the parties and attorneys to present support calculations to the court, as well as by the court to prepare support calculations. While DCSS' calculator must be used in all title IV-D cases, parties and attorneys are free to use it in any other proceeding involving child support. The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement requires that courts use the internal guideline calculator, starting November 30, 2008.

Q: Which calculator program should be used in Title IV-D child support proceedings?

A: Only one program, the California Guideline Child Support Calculator (DCSS) can be used in Title IV-D proceedings. As a condition of federal funding of the child support program in California, the State of California through DCSS was required to develop a statewide automated case management system. Federal specifications for this system included the development of a child support calculator that was integrated as a part of the DCSS case management system. A findingwas issued under 45 C.F.R. sections 307.10(b) and 307.11 that requires California courts to only use and accept calculations prepared on DCSS's California Guideline Child Support Calculator. Beginning on December 1, 2008, courts in Title IV-D proceedings must use the Internal Guideline Calculator, while the public and attorneys may continue to use the public version, which is located on the DCSS Web site. As of January 1, 2009, California Rules of Court rule 5.275(j) provides as follows:

(j) Acceptability in the courts

(1) In all actions for child or family support brought by or otherwise involving the local child support agency under title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the Department of Child Support Services' California Guideline Child Support Calculator software program must be used by:

(A) Parties and attorneys to present support calculations to the court; and
(B) The court to prepare support calculations.

(2) In all non-title IV-D proceedings, the court may use and must permit parties or attorneys to use any software certified by the Judicial Council under this rule.

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