In California, when getting through a family law case and addressing all the issues that will inevitably arise with child custody, alimony, property division and child support, people might feel a sense of relief. However, simply because the case is decided and the child support amount has been set does not mean it will remain the same. Circumstances might change warranting a modification of the child support order. For those who are thinking about requesting a change either from the perspective of the paying parent or the receiving parent, it is important to understand what is necessary.
Understanding when a child support modification can be made
When thinking about a change to a child support order, the way the amount was determined is critical. If there was an agreement between the parties and the judge approved it at an amount that was below the state guidelines, a change can be requested at any point and a change in circumstances does not need to be shown. Otherwise, the parties must show their circumstances have changed and the modification is needed.
Common reasons why the modification might be requested is if there was an income change for either or both parents; a parent’s job situation has changed; there is a child from a separate relationship; the costs of caring for the child have increased or decreased; or if the basis for the previous order has changed. In some instances, the parents can negotiate and agree to the change on their own. In others, they cannot and there must be a request with the court. Once the judge agrees to a new order, then there will be a change. If the judge does not agree, the order remains the same as it was before.
For modifications, having professional assistance could be essential
As many people have discovered recently, life changes can happen without warning. That could lead to people losing income, facing unexpected challenges and seeking a change to a child support order that was previously acceptable. For this or any other family law concern, it might be wise to have professional assistance from the start. This could be critical whether the parties are amicable or are in a contentious relationship. Calling for a consultation about any family law matter can provide guidance and advice on how to move forward and achieve a satisfactory resolution.