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Child Support Calculations in D.C.

One of the duties of parenthood is financially supporting your minor children. A child support order helps to ensure that parents fulfill this responsibility by requiring that they pay a certain amount of money to help with the costs of child-rearing.

The District of Columbia provides a child support calculator that estimates a child support amount when a user inputs specific data. However, the accuracy of the calculator may be questionable and the court will make case-by-case determinations. The calculations are based on both parents' incomes, child support for other children, child care costs, health care expenses, and other factors and must comply with the state's support guidelines.

Child Support Calculations in D.C.: A Summary

Consulting with an attorney can help you to best understand the legal concepts found in statutory law. However, it's also useful to have a straightforward breakdown of a statute in plain language. See the chart below for an overview of the law that governs child support calculations in D.C.


District of Columbia Code Division II. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure:

  • Section 16-916.01 (child support guideline)
  • Section 16-916.02 (child support guideline commission)
  • Section 16-914 (custody of children)
  • Section 16-916.03 (child support proceedings)


Gross Income


"Gross Income" includes, but is not limited to, the following sources:

  • Salary or wages, including overtime, tips, or income from self-employment;
  • Commissions;
  • Severance pay;
  • Royalties;
  • Bonuses;
  • Interest or dividends;
  • Income derived from a business or partnership after deduction of reasonable and necessary business expenses, but not depreciation;
  • Social Security;
  • Veteran's benefits;
  • Insurance benefits;
  • Worker's compensation;
  • Unemployment compensation;
  • Pension;
  • Annuity;
  • Income from a trust;
  • Capital gains from a real or personal property transaction, if the capital gains represent a regular source of income;
  • A contract that results in regular income;
  • Lottery or gambling winnings that are received in a lump sum or in an annuity.


Some items can be deducted from the parents' gross income. For instance, alimony paid by either party to the other party is deducted from the gross income of the alimony-paying parent before the child support obligation is determined.

Each parent may receive a deduction from gross income for each child living in the parents' home for whom the parent owes a legal duty to pay support, but isn't part of the support order.

How to Make the Deduction

The amount of the deduction shall be calculated by determining the basic child support obligation for the additional child in the parent's home, using only the income of the parent entitled to the deduction. This figure is multiplied by 75%, and the resulting amount subtracted from the parent's gross income before the child support obligation is computed.

How to Make the Calculations

  • Determine each parent's adjusted gross income;
  • Using the parents' combined adjusted income, locate the basic child support obligation from the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations. If the parents' combined adjusted gross income falls between the amounts shown in the schedule, the basic child support obligation (BCSO) is rounded up to the next higher amount.;
  • Calculate each parent's percentage share of combined adjusted gross income by dividing each parent's adjusted gross income by the combined adjusted gross income; and
  • Multiply the BCSO by each parent's percentage share of combined adjusted gross income to determine each parent's share of the BCSO.

Note: When the parents don't have shared physical custody, the parent that doesn't primarily live with the child pays their share of the BCSO to the residential parent.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Child Support Calculations in D.C.: Related Resources

Need Help with D.C. Child Support Calculations? Contact an Attorney

Calculating child support calculations in D.C. may require more than imputing figures. If you're confused about how much you need to pay or how much support you should receive, discuss your situation with a skilled professional. Contact a D.C. child support attorney for help with calculations or other child support issues.

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