Life is rarely static and a child support order that may have worked for parents in California may someday need to be modified to meet the changing needs of the child or to accommodate changes in either parent’s life. A parent can seek an increase or decrease in the amount of child support paid. This is known as seeking modification of child support.
When should you seek a modification of child support?
Generally, modification should be sought if there has been a material change in circumstances. For example, being laid off or conversely getting a new job may warrant a modification. An increase or decrease in either parent’s income may warrant a modification. Modification may also be appropriate if your family size changes or there are custody or visitation changes. Becoming disabled, being imprisoned or being deployed to active military service are also times when a parent may need to seek a modification of child support.
How can you modify child support?
You can petition the court to modify child support. After reviewing the information, the court will decide if a modification is necessary and what the new amount of child support should be. Generally, modifications are permitted if the existing child support order would change by 20% or $50, whichever is less. If you and the other party are already in agreement on how the existing child support order should be modified, you can execute a “Stipulated Agreement” that is filed with the court.
Life changes may mean child support changes
Changes are simply a fact of life. A child support order that worked for months or years may suddenly need to change to meet the needs of the parents and the child. A support order can be modified to increase or decrease and can be requested by either parent. Ultimately it is important that the child’s financial needs are met without impoverishing either parent.