The ultimate goal of paying child support in California is to meet the child’s financial needs. Both parents have the obligation to financially support their child. The custodial parent does so by having the child live with them and the noncustodial parent does so by paying child support.
There are times, however, when an existing child support order is no longer working. If so, either parent can seek a modification of child support.
Proving a change in circumstances
In order to modify an existing child support order, you must be able to demonstrate there has been a “change in circumstances.” For example:
- Your income has changed
- You were laid off
- You are incarcerated
- You have had a new child from a new relationship
- Your child spends more or less time with you than is outlined in your child custody order, or
- Your child’s financial needs have changed
These are only examples of a change in circumstances that could warrant a modification of a child support order. There may be other reasons specific to your circumstances that may move you to seek a modification of child support.
Changing a support order
Sometimes parents can agree between them as to a change in child support. As long as this change is still in the best interests of the child, the parents can draft a stipulation that can then be approved by a judge to become a legally enforceable child support order.
If parents do not agree on a change to child support, a motion can be filed with the court to seek a modification. Until the court modifies a support order it is important to keep paying the full amount of child support due. Modifications generally are not retroactive.
You never know when your financial situation will change, which is why you can try to modify your child support order in California. If successful, it can help you meet your child’s many financial needs without creating an undue burden on you or your ex.