It is invariable that a party paying child support thinks they are paying too much and the party receiving child support thinks they are not receiving enough.  California has a statewide uniform guideline which determines the presumptively correct amount of child support.  It is a rebuttable presumption, but family law courts rarely deviate from the guideline.  The guideline begs the question: How much does it really cost to raise a child in the United States?  Obviously, the answer depends on which State the child lives in.  For example, the cost of living here in California is much higher than Iowa.  Since 1960, the United States Department Agriculture (USDA) has been providing estimates of how much it costs to raise a child from birth through the age of 17.  Those costs consist of the following categories: Housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care, education and miscellaneous expenses.  Importantly, the reports only cover through age 17.  In California, child support continues until a minor child reaches 18 and graduates from high school.  You can find the USDA’s report at the following web site:

     The bottom line is what every parent already knows:  Children Are Expensive and that expense doesn’t go away because parents are getting divorced.

For more information, please call Philip A. Wasserman at 661-294-8484 or email him at