Modification of Child Support in California

By Law Office of Karen S. Brown

Child support in California is typically paid from the non-custodial parent to the parent with primary or full physical custody. When first determining these payments, the courts look at each parent’s income, the child’s health and education needs, and other factors. Circumstances may change, though, and a parent may need to seek a modification of child support.

If the two parents cannot agree on a new payment amount, they will need to attend a court hearing. If you are seeking to modify your child support payments, family law attorney Karen S. Brown can help. She has assisted numerous families in the Los Angeles, CA area to negotiate child support and other family law matters.

Reasons to Request a Modification of Child Support

In California, there are limited circumstances in which a parent can request a modification of child support. These circumstances include:

  • A change in income for one or both parents

  • The loss of a job for one parent

  • Significant changes in visitation schedules

  • Changes in the child’s needs and costs for health care and education

  • One parent gets married or has another child with a new partner

  • Incarceration of one of the parents

The courts typically calculate child support payments by looking at each parent’s income, the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the child’s own needs. If a parent loses his or her job, he or she may be unable to afford full payments until another job is secured.

Similarly, if a child used to split time between parents 60/40 but now spends 80 percent of his or her time with one parent, that could justify changes in child support. A child diagnosed with a serious illness may require more expensive healthcare, which results in a need to request larger child support payments.

It is important to note that if a parent is incarcerated, the support payments are stopped only temporarily, and only after 90 consecutive days in jail or prison. Once the parent is released, payments must resume. In some cases, if the parent maintains the financial ability to make payments, he or she must continue to do so.

When to Request Modifications

It is important to request a modification as soon as possible if your situation changes. Falling behind on payments is unacceptable and you will be required to make any back payments in full, even if your future payments are reduced. You should contact Attorney Karen S. Brown right away so she can begin drafting your request for modification.

If you and the other parent can agree to the modifications, the court only needs to approve the changes. If, however, you cannot come to an agreement, you will have to attend a court hearing. The court will then decide whether to approve or reject any proposed modifications.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today

If you are facing financial hardship and need to make changes to your child support payments, contact the Law Office of Karen S. Brown today to schedule a consultation.