When can I Modify My Child Support Payments?

As part of a finalized divorce settlement in California, if a couple has a child there must be a child support payment agreement. However, over the ensuing months and years the situation may change for the parents or child that necessitates a modification in child support payments. Not all changes qualify for a new child support payment to be ordered by the court, and it is important to understand when you, your former spouse, or your child may qualify for more or less in child support payments. To learn more about modifications to child support after a California divorce, call or contact an experienced family law attorney at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler in the Los Angeles area today.

Change in Circumstances

In order to qualify for a modification of child support in California, there must be a significant change in circumstances that warrant the change. This change in circumstances could not have been known or anticipated at the time of the finalized divorce, which is why modifications typically occur months or years after a divorce settlement. Small changes, such as a cost of living raise, also do not rise to the level of being considered a significant change.

Situations that Qualify for Modification

There are many situations that may arise that would qualify for either an increase or decrease in child support payments from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent of a minor child. An increase in child support may be ordered if the custodial parent loses a job and cannot find substantial employment to cover basic living expenses. Substantial injury or disability to the custodial parent or child may also necessitate an increase in child support in addition to a significant increase in the noncustodial parent’s income.

There are situations that can come up that warrant a decrease in the level of child support paid from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. The most common instance is when the noncustodial parent is making child support payments for multiple children, and one child becomes a legal adult. Other circumstances that may necessitate a change in child support payments is the loss of employment by the noncustodial parent; however, quitting a job does not qualify. The noncustodial parent must be fired or let go and be unable to find substantial employment for a period of time in order to qualify for a reduction in child support payments. If the noncustodial parent is seriously injured or incurs a medical disability it may also qualify. Finally, if the custodial parent receives a significant increase in income, it may warrant a decrease in the amount of child support paid.

Call or Contact the Office Now

Modifications to child support after a divorce is finalized in California can be complex, and you should not attempt to petition the court on your own. To learn more about your legal options for child support modification in the Los Angeles area, call or contact the experienced team at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today to schedule a free consultation of your case.