For parents struggling to meet their child support obligations in California, changing a child support order may be possible. This can also be an option for recipient parents to seek a child support modification. Both parents should know how to request a child support change if needed.
When a child support order might be changed
Generally, child support modifications may be available if there has been a change in circumstances. That is not required, however, if the parents agree to a child support change and the family law court approves it. Reasons a child support order might be modified based on a change in circumstances can include:
- The income of one or both of the child’s parents has changed;
- One parent lost their job;
- One parent was incarcerated;
- Significant changes to how much time the child spends with each of the parents;
- The needs of the child have changes and their may be greater or less costs associated with the child’s childcare, health care or education; or
- There have been changes in any of the factors that are used to calculate child support.
Parents can agree to a child support modification that, if approved by the family law court, will serve as the new child support order. Even if the parents agree to a child support modification, the family law judge will need to sign it. It is essential that parents continue to abide by any existing child support order until any child support modification is approved or granted and becomes official.
If the parents do not agree to a child support modification, either parent wishing to change the child support order can make a request to the family law court for a child support modification. Child support can be a challenging issue to negotiate which is why parents should be familiar with the different ways to change a child support order if needed.