Child support is the monthly payment the non-custodial parent is required to make to the custodial parent for raising their child. In California, child support amounts can be modified if new circumstances arise. In such instances, you need to ask the court to give your child support agreement another look.
The following is all you need to know about child support modifications.
How Are Child Support Amounts Determined?
Under California law, the parents of a child are equally responsible for supporting their child until the child attains maximum age of 18 years or 19 years old and out of high school. When deciding on the amount of child support to be paid by one parent, the court will consider the parents’ incomes and how much time the non custodial parent spends with the child.
Other factors the court will take into account when issuing a child support order include:
- Non-custodial parent’s income
- The number of children
- Parenting time for each parent
- Health insurance costs
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Mandatory union dues
- Mortgage interest and property tax deductions
- The support the children receive from other relationships.
What Are the Conditions for Modifying a Child Support Order?
The court can modify a child support order if you can show a change in circumstances. Some examples that show a change in circumstances include:
- A change in financial status
- The incarceration of one parent
- The loss of income or employment by one parent
- A child from another relationship
- A change in the child’s needs
- A change in timeshare
If you experience or anticipate these changes in circumstances, you should notify the family court to modify the child support order. Bear in mind the court doesn’t change immediately, you are still responsible to pay the court ordered amount until the court orders a new amount. If you default, you’re still obliged to pay the past due amount.
Can Parents Agree to Modify a Child Support Order?
If parents can agree on a new amount of child support, they can create a written agreement and present it to the court, so it becomes an order. Unless the judge signs the agreement, the existing child support order will remain in force. Therefore, when you have a verbal agreement about child support, make sure it’s in writing and signed by the judge.
Does Remarriage Affect Child Support Arrangements?
A biological parent is responsible for their children; therefore, remarriage doesn’t mean a child support order cannot be modified. A stepparent’s income may only be considered under exceptional circumstances, like when the child is undergoing extreme hardship.
The stepparent may also be considered if the biological spouse stops working or intentionally stays unemployed and relies on their new spouse’s income. Additionally, having a child with another person will not minimize your child support payments.
What Is Required to Modify a Child Support Arrangement?
To modify a child support order, the following information may be required:
- The parent’s income and expenses
- Disability information
- Retirement income
- Unemployment benefits
- Prison status
- Medical insurance
- Child care expense
- Visitation and custody arrangements
A review of the previous order will occur and a modification will be ordered if there is a change to the order. First, the date for your hearing will be set and you will be required to provide all the relevant information to the court before the hearing.
Child support orders are made when there is a disparity in income and the child has financial needs. The non-custodial parent can file a motion in court to have a child support order reviewed to prove a change in their circumstances.
Inquire from your family lawyer if you have sufficient grounds to have your child support order amended.