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Modifying Child Support

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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.

Consult with Our Proven Los Angeles Child Support Attorneys

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.


Explore your options during an initial consultation. Call us at (818) 600-6534!


How Do I Make a Change to an Existing Support Order?

At Stolar Law Group, we can assist you with seeking a modification to your existing child support order if circumstances have significantly changed. Perhaps you lost your job or were forced to accept a lower-paying position. Perhaps the other parent gained a much higher-paying job and is now able to contribute more. Perhaps you remarried and now have stepchildren to support in addition to your biological children. Perhaps your child's needs have changed and his or her care-related expenses have increased. We will carefully review your case. If a modification is possible, we will help you seek one from the appropriate California family law court.

Thinking About Modifying Your Child Support Order?

California child support orders are based on parents' financial situations and circumstances at the time of their divorce. In the years that follow, a wide array of substantial changes in circumstances may justify modification of those orders. While we at Stolar Law Group primarily focus on divorce representation and development of prenuptial agreements, we also take action for people in need of post-divorce modifications. We can readily assess your case—whether you want a modification or need to defense against one—and provide guidance.

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Reach out to the Los Angeles family lawyers at Stolar Law Group for help with your divorce, child custody, child support, or family law case. We offer free and confidential consultations, and our multilingual staff can assist you in English, Spanish, Armenian, Arabic, or Hebrew.

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