Can Child Support Be Modified?
Parents are required to help support their children in the case of divorce or separation. Child support is an important aspect of that will greatly affect the lives of you and your child following such an event. Child support orders are unique to each state, but in California and most others, it is generally calculated based on factors such as the incomes of both parents and the amount of time the child spends at each residence.
Though this calculation may initially be effective, circumstances change. Especially in the case of child support, one or both parents may find themselves in a new financial situation and need to modify the child support order. If this happens, it is helpful to know different circumstances that may necessitate a change and how to proceed. More than that, having a Los Angeles child support lawyer to guide you through this time can be essential to a successful outcome for you and your child.
Child Support & a Change of Circumstances
If one or both parents wish to change the child support order, they may need to prove that an adequate “change of circumstance” has taken place since the last order was made. An exception might be made if the judge decided on a child support amount that was less than the guideline amount, in which case the parents would NOT have to evidence a change in circumstances and can ask to change the amount at any time.
The following would be standard reasons for a modification:
- Income of one or both parents changed
- One or both parents have lost their job
- One parent has been to prison
- One parent has a child from a different relationship
- Noteworthy changes in time spent with a parent
- Changes in child care, health care, or education
- Changes in any factors used to determine child support
If an arrangement on a new amount of support can be settled between the parents (and the Local Child Service Agency if involved in the case), they may be able to hand a written stipulation to the judge for signature.
If one or both of the parents cannot settle on a change in amount, at least one of the parents must ask for a modification through the court.
Don’t Wait to Request a Modification
Even if you verbally agreed to change the child support amount with the other parent, be sure to carefully write it out and obtain a judge’s signature. Otherwise, the change will not hold up in court, and the existing child support amount will not be changed.
In case of a change in employment or any other factor that impacts child support payments, do not hesitate to request a modification to the child support order. The judge can ONLY change your child support from the date you filed your paperwork requesting the change. This means that if you were suddenly unemployed, but filed for the changed amount four months after the fact, you may still be responsible for paying four months of child support at the old amount plus interest on late child support payments.
Questions? Consult a Los Angeles Child Support Attorney.
Handling child support modifications on your own can be risky business and leave you in an even more difficult situation than before. An experienced Los Angeles family lawyer can help navigate the complexities surrounding child support modification and can provide counsel regarding your next steps. If you have serious concerns about your circumstantial changes, believe your ex-spouse may be hiding income, or find any other reason to modify an order, be sure to consult our seasoned child support attorneys.
Reach out to Stolar & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation to speak with us about your case today!