skip to Main Content
ALERT Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Your Health & Safety. View our response ›

4053. In implementing the statewide uniform guideline, the courts shall adhere to the following principles:

  • (a) A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.
  • (b) Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children.
  • (c) The guideline takes into account each parent’s actual income and level of responsibility for the children.
  • (d) Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.
  • (e) The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state’s top priority.
  • (f) Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children.
  • (g) Child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children’s living standards in the two homes.
  • (h) The financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible.
  • (i) It is presumed that a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children.
  • (j) The guideline seeks to encourage fair and efficient settlements of conflicts between parents and seeks to minimize the need for litigation.
  • (k) The guideline is intended to be presumptively correct in all cases, and only under special circumstances should child support orders fall below the child support mandated by the guideline formula.
  • (l) Child support orders must ensure that children actually receive fair, timely, and sufficient support reflecting the state’s high standard of living and high costs of raising children compared to other states.


  • (a) The annual gross income of each parent means income from whatever source derived, except as specified in
    subdivision (c) and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • (1) Income such as commissions, salaries, royalties, wages, bonuses, rents, dividends, pensions,
      interest, trust income, annuities, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits,
      disability insurance benefits, social security benefits, and spousal support actually received from a
      person not a party to the proceeding to establish a child support order under this article.
    • (2) Income from the proprietorship of a business, such as gross receipts from the business reduced by
      expenditures required for the operation of the business.
    • (3) In the discretion of the court, employee benefits or self-employment benefits, taking into
      consideration the benefit to the employee, any corresponding reduction in living expenses, and other
      relevant facts.
  • (b) The court may, in its discretion, consider the earning capacity of a parent in lieu of the parent’s income,
    consistent with the best interests of the children.
  • (c) Annual gross income does not include any income derived from child support payments actually received, and
    income derived from any public assistance program, eligibility for which is based on a determination of need.
    Child support received by a party for children from another relationship shall not be included as part of that
    party’s gross or net income.


  • (a) The court shall order the following as additional child support:
  • (1) Child care costs related to employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment
  • (2) The reasonable uninsured health care costs for the children as provided in Section
  • (b) The court may order the following as additional child support:
    • (1) Costs related to the educational or other special needs of the children.
    • (2) Travel expenses for visitation.


  • (a) Unless prohibited by applicable federal law, the parties may stipulate to a child support amount subject to approval of the court. However, the court shall not approve a stipulated agreement for child support below the guideline formula amount unless the parties declare all of the following:
    • (1) They are fully informed of their rights concerning child support.
    • (2) The order is being agreed to without coercion or duress.
    • (3) The agreement is in the best interests of the children involved.
    • (4) The needs of the children will be adequately met by the stipulated amount.
    • (5) The right to support has not been assigned to the county pursuant to Section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and no public assistance application is pending.
  • (b) The parties may, by stipulation, require the child support obligor to designate an account for the purpose of paying the child support obligation by electronic funds transfer pursuant to Section 4508.
  • (c) A stipulated agreement of child support is not valid unless the local child support agency has joined in the stipulation by signing it in any case in which the local child support agency is providing services pursuant to Section 17400. The local child support agency shall not stipulate to a child support order below the guideline amount if the children are receiving assistance under the CalWORKs program, if an application for public assistance is pending, or if the parent receiving support has not consented to the order.
  • (d) If the parties to a stipulated agreement stipulate to a child support order below the amount established by the statewide uniform guideline, no change of circumstances need be demonstrated to obtain a modification of the child support order to the applicable guideline level or above.
Back To Top