As time goes on, sometimes parents need to change a child support order to reflect their current circumstances. Changing a child support order is also referred to as a modification. There is a process parents can go through to ask for this change.
In California, either parent can ask the court to increase or decrease the amount of court-ordered child support. Parents may ask for this if their job has changed, they lose their job, or other types of income change.
It may also be appropriate to ask for a modification if a parent becomes disabled, deployed to military service, or goes to jail or prison.
In addition, sometimes the family size will change or the original custody and visitation arrangement needs to be updated.
Proof required for modification
Before the court can consider a modification, it will require the parents to present proof of several items. These include income and expenses, child care payments, medical insurance, disability status, jail or prison status, unemployment income, retirement income and the current custody and visitation arrangement.
Generally, modification may be granted if the support order would change by 20% or $50, whichever is less.
Sometimes, parents will agree on the amount of child support ahead of time. If this is the case, they can sign a stipulated agreement which is then filed with the court.
If the parents do not agree, the court will hold a hearing where it will decide the child support amount.
An experienced attorney can provide representation to parents, as well as answer their questions about child support, child custody and related family law matters.