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Can You Change Child Support Payments in California?

couple discussing about changing child support with attorney

Can You Change Child Support Payments in California?

Modifying child support payments can be a needed step after a divorce. In California, when couples with children divorce, the court orders child support based on the incomes of both parents and the needs of the child. However, changes in circumstances, such as job loss, remarriage, relocation, or a significant increase in income for either parent, may warrant a change in child support payments. In this article, we will explore how to change child support payments in California and the factors that influence the court’s decision.

Reasons for Changing Child Support Payments

Parents can request to modify the child support amount, but they must provide valid reasons. Some factors that are considered when modifying child support in California include changes in a parent’s income, the child’s medical expenses, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the child’s needs.

One of the most common reasons for changing child support payments in California is usually triggered by changes in the financial situation of either parent. This could be due to:

  • Job loss
  • Reduction in income
  • Increase in income

Also parents may also seek to change child support payments if there has been a significant change in the child’s needs. For instance, what if a child develops a medical condition that requires round the clock care so now one of the parent needs to stop working and care for the child. The current support payment which was based on two working parents, can be modified to reflect only one income producing parent.

Another example is if the parents want to start sending their child to a private school that costs more than what was previously budgeted for, then an adjustment may be warranted, to increase support based on the increase in needs of the child.

Child support payments may also be adjusted if the custody arrangements for the child change. If a parent gains or loses custody or if the percentage of time each parent spends with the child changes from about even to one parent doing 70% of the caregiving while the other only 30%, this likely result in a need for modification of support.

It’s worth noting that child support laws change over time, which can also result in a change in the amount of support being paid. For example, if California changes its child support guidelines, this could lead to an increase or decrease in the amount being paid.

Steps to Take to Request a Modification

If you believe you may need an adjustment in child support, it may be best to talk it over with a family law attorney like Bradley Bayan who can confirm if you qualify. If it is determined there is a significant enough change in circumstances, Attorney Bayan can file paperwork to ask the court to increase or decrease support. Both parents will need to show financials again such as current income, current expenditures, which can be things like termination notice, pay stubs, tax returns, medical bills, or any other documents that show the change in the financial situation. Your divorce lawyer will help you by knowing what is needed to prove that modifying child support is necessary. It is important to fill out the forms accurately, provide all the necessary information, and be prepared to appear in court if needed.

Once your request for modification is submitted, the other parent will receive official notice informing them of your request. The other parent will also need to submit their financials so that they can see how the child support calculation may change based on the new financial situation. The parents can opt to agree to the modification, or if they cannot agree, a hearing will be needed to allow the court evaluate it for approval or denial.

If the parents agree to the modification, the new order can be approved by the court. The new order will detail the new child support amount and the effective date.

However, if the other party contests the modification, you may have to attend a hearing to plead your case before the judge. Before going to court, your lawyer may suggest mediation as a way to find consensus. If no agreement can be met in mediation, then you have a hearing and the court will decide. If the court does not see the change as necessary, your petition for modification will be denied and the original order will remain in force. If they recognize a need to increase or decrease support, then a new order will be put in place and the original order will be null. Mediation, a court hearing, the proper collecting and filing of paperwork are all better done with the help of full service family law practice.

Talk With Redwood City Attorney Bradley Bayan

Child support payments are a legal obligation to support the financial needs of children, and it is essential that it be adjusted when specific circumstances require it. The process of changing child support payments can be complicated depending on the reasons behind the request for the change. You want child support to be fairly based on both parents shouldering their responsibility to care for their child’s needs. Contact Redwood City child custody lawyer Bradley Bayan at the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation for questions about modifying child support.

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