When your divorce is finalized, a court order is commonly put in place that requires specific child support payments to be made. However, either parent may file for modification if there is any “substantial change” in their financial circumstances.
The “substantial change” may consist of a change in income or other conditions (such as job loss) for either parent. Also, differences may result from a change in the overnight parenting pattern or custody arrangement exercised by either parent.
The California child support statutes commonly allow a modification petition to be filed every three years or if there has been “a substantial change in circumstances” since the original order was decreed.
Usually, the most common reason for a change in your child support is a change in income for either parent. This change can move the child support upward or downward and include the parent paying the child support or receiving it.
There is no specific amount your income must change before filing for modification, but there are guidelines to evaluate if a change is possible. The local agency will review the information you and the other parent provide, then determine whether a modification is needed and decide on a new amount of support. Usually, an amendment may be granted if the support order changes by 20% or $50, whichever is less. Your Fresno child support modification family lawyer will usually guide you in these calculations and advise you whether a modification is possible.
However, it’s important to note that a California child support modification case is not usually a rapid legal process.
As was highly evident in your divorce proceedings, working with the courts on these matters that involve the health and well-being of your child are usually complex. Obtaining the help of a qualified California child support modification family law firm is mandatory. The numbers, calculations, and documentation needed to present to the courts are extensive but can successfully get you what you justifiably need.
How Can A Change in Parenting Time Affect My Child Support Payments?
A “substantial” change in your pattern of parenting time may also be a valid reason for a change in your child support payments.
Fairly recently, some changes in child support laws have strengthened your ability to modify your child support based on current parenting patterns. Previously, the courts only commonly looked at the overnight parenting split detailed in the parenting plan in your final divorce filing. However, these recent changes authorize the courts to calculate child support according to the parents’ “actual and current” parenting patterns.
Timeshare refers to the amount of time each parent has the primary responsibility for the children. To account for when the children are in school or daycare, the court will determine which parent has primary responsibility. They may consider particular factors such as who picks up the children if they get sick, who transports them to and from school, who pays for education, and who attends school functions.
How Does A Change in My Expenses Affect My Modification?
Some specific changes in your child-related expenses may justify changes in your child’s support amount. These changes are, however, clear and limited.
A few of the more common changes that might affect your child support are:
- Daycare Expenses – If daycare expenses are included as a part of your child’s support, any change in daycare may serve as a reason to modify the support. However, you must note that a requirement is that the daycare is related to employment needs.
- Alimony – Frequently, when temporary or defined-term alimony ends, the additional income freed up may be considered an increase or decrease in income. That increase or decrease may cause your child support to be changed.
- Health insurance for your child – This may trigger a need to file for child support modification if your child’s health insurance premiums change.
- Other child support orders – If you have court-ordered child support for children from different marriages, this would become a valid deduction from your total income. This support must be court-ordered to be effective.
In California, modifying your child support is a complex and detailed legal area, and the advice of your professional and experienced family lawyer will be invaluable. Consult with them about any change in your expenses or overall situation, and you will be able to proceed with confidence.
If I Am Behind On My Child Support Payments, Can that Be Modified to Help?
This answer will pertain to your specific situation. Child support can be modified at any time based upon valid, substantial, permanent, and unanticipated changes in financial circumstances. However, any arrearage that you may have accrued due to non-payment of child support after losing a job may remain due.
Unfortunately, the court commonly has no authority to change or reduce the amount you owe in back child support payments in most cases. The court can only change or modify current child support obligations if there is significant proof that the amount you pay does not fit given present circumstances.
Your professional family lawyer is the best person to deal with this complex issue. Explain all the specifics that caused your arrearage in child support payments, and they will know the best path to take to solve the problem.
I Do Feel That I Have Cause To Have My Child Support Payments Modified, How Do I Proceed?
The divorce process itself, and then dealing with the stress of making (or receiving) regular payments can be overwhelming. Additionally, changes in our society today are commonplace, and what may have been fair in the past may no longer hold now.
As a parent, you always want your child to be well cared for, and this fact is foremost in the California court’s decisions. The Family Lawyers at Tommasian, Pimentel & Shapazian have an extensive and winning history of helping divorced parents make their new lives work best for them and their children. Consult with them as soon as possible, and they will professionally and empathetically guide you through this modification process and help give your family a fresh start.