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Discuss Your Case Today:
(424) 421-0009

Child Support Modifications

Can Child Support Be Modified in California?

Parents are required to help support their children in the case of divorce or separation. Child support is an important aspect 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.

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.

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.

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.

The most common reasons to seek modification of child support include:

  • A significant increase or unavoidable decrease in either parent’s income;
  • One or both parents have lost their job;
  • One parent has been to prison;
  • One parent has a child from a different relationship;
  • Your child’s needs have changed due to medical expenses, a special class, or an activity;
  • Agreed-upon or litigated changes in the child custody and visitation arrangement;
  • Parental relocation, adding significantly to the expenses for visitation;
  • Major changes in children’s financial needs due to health problems or other serious causes;
  • Changes in any factors used to determine child support.


People who try to handle modifications informally without legal counsel take serious risks. Ex-spouses may be willing to make trade-offs at one point but decide later to enforce the letter of the law, for example – and unpaid child support is never a forgivable debt. Whether you are dealing with complex life changes involving your children, believe your ex-spouse is hiding income, or have other serious concerns, we encourage you to contact us for counsel on your legal rights and options. We welcome clients from all throughout Los Angeles County, CA.


If you are ready to find out how a Los Angeles family law lawyer from Stolar Law Group can assist you, please call our office at (424) 421-0009 to schedule an initial consultation. We have been helping clients throughout Southern California for decades, and now we’re ready to help you.
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