Do I Need a Child Support Modification? / by Cassandra Hearn

The only constant thing in life is change, and child support orders are no exception to this. Even if parents put in a lot of time, effort, and thought into creating a child support order that they believe will stand the test of time, a large variety of factors can mean that the parents have to nevertheless revisit a child support order. The parent requesting the modification will need to prove that there has been a material change in circumstances such that modification of the order is necessary.  In most child support cases, a “change in circumstances” equates to a change in earnings.  The court will evaluate the change, and then apply the California child support guidelines.

An order for child support may have to change for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is if one or both of the parents have had a change in their income. If your income has gone down or the other parent’s income has gone up, asking for a child support modification may very well be appropriate. This still applies if one of the parents loses his or her job, goes on disability, retires, changes jobs, goes back to school, or otherwise has a variation in pay.  

Aside from a change in income, the most common reason for modification of support is if custody and visitation has changed. The percentage of time each parent shares with the children directly factors into the amount of support paid.  Likewise, when one child graduates high school or becomes emancipated, support should be reduced even if there are younger siblings who are still minors.  

Regardless of the reason for the modification, it is important that if you believe a modification is necessary, you file the request with the court as soon as possible. Child support orders cannot be retroactively modified to a time before the filing. In other words, even if you have good reason to change a support order, the court will not go back and change the amount of child support owed to any time before the exact day a request to modify is filed with the court.

Child support can be a complex calculation involving many factors. We have experience in modification of child support, and look forward to talking with you about your case. Call us today at 619-800-0384 for a consultation.