Life changes and child support modification

A California parent who has gone through a divorce and who has been ordered to pay child support may seek a modification for a number of reasons. An injury, losing a job, a change in household income or a change in marital status could all be reasons that result in the need for child support modification. It is important for a parent who needs a modification in child support to avoid procrastinating. Child support modifications are rarely retroactive, and back child support payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

A parent might want to seek legal advice to find out what constitutes a situation that would allow for a child support modification. If the other parent agrees, this could make the process easier since it means litigation will not be necessary. Parents who are not in agreement may be able to reach one using mediation.

The parent who plans to request the modification might want to document the circumstances around the need for it. This must be a change that happened after the existing child support order was in place. If the modification is due to a job loss, the parent should demonstrate an effort to find a new job. The child support modification then needs to be entered in the right court.

Child support is usually paid by a noncustodial parent to a custodial parent, so if there is a change in custody, there might also be a change in support. A custody change might happen if an older child decides to live with the other parent and the parents agree or if one parent is relocating. The court may also have to approve a relocation if it is to a place far enough away that custody and visitation will be disrupted.

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    Attorneys Paul Gavin and Wayne Dersch are certified as a family law specialists. Learn More