In California, child support is based on a guideline formula calculated using a computer program. The facts and figures that are input into the program result in a guideline child support amount. Temporary spousal support, before assets and debts are divided, is also commonly calculated using this formula but may not be used after division of property. For child support purposes, the key factors are the incomes of each parent, the number of children and the percentage of time each parent spends with the child or children. If one parent is not earning money but could be, or could be earning more than he or she is claiming, an expert can be consulted to provide evidence to the court. One type of expert is a forensic accountant. These are used to assist when a party owns his or her own business and claims many personal expenses as business expenses to reduce the appearance of income. Another type of expert of a vocational training counselor. These are used to examine the unemployed or underemployed parent and to make a recommendation to the court as to how much the person could be earning at his or her potential, as well as a timeline and proposed recommendation for parents' education, training and future career.
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