In California, child support is one of the most important aspects of a family law case. Once the amount is determined and the payments are made, circumstances might arise that make it necessary for one of the parents – the paying or receiving parent – to want the amount to be changed.
There are many reasons for this including job loss, sudden expenses, the need to move to a new residence or unforeseen events. For modifications, there are vital points to remember. One that is often understated is that it is imperative to act as soon as possible when asking for the modification.
Waiting to ask for a modification is a mistake
In general, people have a legitimate and important reason for asking that their child’s support payments be modified. If, for example, the supporting parent lost their job and cannot maintain the payments, it is a mistake to wait before asking that the court modify the order, even if the reduction in income is only expected to be temporary. The same holds true for the receiving parent.
The supporting parent failing to pay the required amount could lead to penalties that will make their situation worse. Their driver’s license might be suspended, their wages can be garnished and liens can be placed on their property.
If the parent is under the impression that the change will be retroactive, they are wrong. The financial challenge coming about a few months before the requested change does not alter the payments during the interim. The order is the order and it must be paid in full.
Any child support concern should be addressed urgently with professional help
Believing that the reduction in income will not be for the long term, failing to account for the importance of child support and functioning under the belief that it can be changed later are some of the reasons people express when waiting to ask for the modification.
People may face personal and financial obstacles without warning. It is vital to be prepared for this and act quickly when asking for a child support modification. In some cases, it can be negotiated. In others, it must go to court. Having experienced assistance is key from the outset regardless of the perspective.