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Rombro & Manley LLP

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Rombro & Manley LLP

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Modifying an order for child support

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Family Law

Many Californians who have survived the divorce process view the judge’s signature on the final order as the last step in a very painful journey. However, people’s lives often veer in unexpected directions, and the issue of post-divorce child support is no exception. Sometimes, a parent needs to request a modification for child support.

The most common reason for modifying an existing order for child support is a sharp change in income. A second important reason for a modification is an unexpected health problem or disability caused by an accident.

While California courts do not welcome unsupported motions for modifications of a child support order, the state’s statutes and court rules provide extensive guidance about the methods and procedures for modifying an order for child support.

The first moves

The party who desires the modification must file a motion with the court requesting the modification. The motion must be served upon the other parent. After the other parent has filed a response, the parties must exchange information concerning their current financial situations, including current income and expenses.

Reasons for asking for a modification

The California Bureau of Child support Services provides a list of reasons that generally justify modifying a child support order:

  • Loss of job
  • Moving party gets a new or additional job
  • Change in income of either party
  • Custody or visitation is altered
  • Family size changes
  • Disability
  • Moving party goes to jail or prison
  • Deployment to active military service

Supporting evidence

Both parties must submit evidence supporting their side of the case. Such evidence usually includes:

  • Evidence of income and expenses
  • Childcare expenses
  • Medical insurance
  • Disability status
  • Jail or prison status
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Retirement income
  • Current custody and visitation arrangements

Settlement

The two parties should attempt to work out their differences without resort to the court. A negotiated settlement gives both parties significant control over the outcome of the dispute and avoids the uncertainties of a judicial decision.