In California, a child support order is necessary so a child can have everything they need after the parents have parted ways. It includes provisions related to health care, clothing, food and a safe place to live. It also covers payment for extracurricular activities and incidentals.
The court bases a child support order on the parents’ and child’s circumstances at the time. However, things can change and parents might need to modify the amount of money involved.
The court needs facts
Since the court uses a guideline to calculate how much it will order in child support, it needs to know why a parent is asking for the modification. Those asking for a modification must have facts to support the request.
For example, a parent might show that the child has unexpected medical expenses that are not covered by health insurance and must be paid out of pocket Alternatively, a parent might have lost a job, making it impossible for them to keep up with payments. Likewise, a parent might suddenly have more income or assets than they had at the time the order was put in effect, meaning that the court should reassess how much the parents are able to afford in child support.
Documentation is crucial in these cases. Pay stubs can show diminished or increased income. Medical bills can show that the child’s health care costs have increased. The court looks at the evidence and makes its decision.
Parents should know the steps
For some parents, it is possible to negotiate a child support modification on their own and they do not need to ask for court intervention. In others, there is too wide a gap between what one parent is asking for and what the other parent is willing to pay.
Since the child’s welfare is paramount, parents should keep that in mind when asking for or responding to a request for a child support modification.