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Custody & Support Modifications

Review of California Child Support Modifications

This blog has previously discussed how a Los Angeles resident can get his child support modified. Sometimes, a change in child support is very important for a parent, as it could mean the difference between relative financial security and real economic hardship.

Unlike other post-decree modifications, which tend to be more permanent in nature, it is relatively convenient to change one's child support order. Judges have the discretion to review child support from time to time since the law recognizes that what may have been an appropriate amount of child support at one point in history may at another point be anything but fair.

However, this does not mean that child support modifications in California are automatic. For one, a person who wants to change support will still need to get a written agreement with the other parent and submit the same to the court for approval. As long as the agreement is in the child's best interests and follows the law, the court will ordinarily approve it.

Failing an agreement, a parent who wants a change in child support will have to ask the court for a review of the parent's current child support obligation. A court is generally free to change a support order, even an agreed order if it calls for payments below what the state's guidelines recommend.

In other cases, the parent seeking a modification will have to show that a change in circumstances occurred since child support was last reviewed. By way of example, a change in circumstances can be something as simple as a job loss, a promotion, or a career change, or it could relate to the fact that a couple's custody and parenting time arrangement has changed.

Those with specific questions about child support modifications should consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.