Justifying a modification to a child support order
Once California parents reach an agreement on a child support amount or have the courts set the amount, an official order is issued. However, it can be changed or modified if there are certain changes in the factors the court considers.
The importance of a child support order
A child support order from the court establishes the amount of support to be received. It is legally binding since that is the amount the court will recognize even if the parents had reached a verbal agreement about a different amount later in the process. This may happen as the needs and circumstances of all families change over time.
Justifying a modification
In California, a parent can petition for a change or modification to a financial support order if they can show that there has been a significant change in circumstance since the original order was issued. A change may include:
• An adjustment of the custody arrangements
• An increase or decrease of the costs of child care, education or health care
• One parent losing a job
• A significant change in income for either parent
• A parent going to jail
• The birth of a new child from a parent’s different relationship
Additionally, if the original support amount agreed to by both parents was under the state guideline, then the parent has the right to ask for a support modification without showing proof of a change of circumstance.
For many parents, particularly those in amicable relationships, the desire to avoid dealing with the court may lead them to make verbal agreements about child support. However, ensuring that the court signs off on the changes is the only way to protect you and your child’s interests in cases of disputes over the support amount.