4 Reasons the Court May Modify Child Support Payments

When you go through a divorce, separate, or breakup where you and your partner shared children, you may have wound up receiving or paying child support as a result. Child support is intended to hold both parents equally responsible for providing their children with basic necessities. If one parent is the child’s primary caretaker, then the other parent will likely be ordered by California courts to pay child support to compensate for the child’s expenses. However, those initial court orders rarely hold up for long periods of time. When financial circumstances change or parental obligations shift, these support payments may need to be modified to reflect those changes.

According to California law, child support payments are legal obligations that can be upheld until the child reaches the age of 18. The only way court-ordered child support payments can be modified is if either the parents or child has undergone a drastic “change in circumstances.” Some of the most common examples of a drastic “change in circumstances” are:

1. Job Loss

If either parent loses their job, it could seriously affect the welfare of the child in a monetary sense. Whether the unemployed parent is the child support recipient or contributor, this significant loss of income could warrant a child support modification. This will also apply if the parent loses his or her job because they have been incarcerated.

2. Change in Income

Financial upsets are not the only monetary changes that could warrant a child support modification. If either parent experiences a substantial raise, new high-paying job, or another type of financial gain, it may warrant a change in child support payments. Likewise, if either parent has some sort of financial difficulty, they might also petition the court for a modification.

3. One Parent Has More Children

When either parent has more children to care for, their financial circumstances will undoubtedly change. When this happens, California courts are usually very accommodating and willing to modify child support payments accordingly. However, just because a parent has had more children that does not mean his or her financial obligation to their first child has vanished.

4. The Child’s Needs Have Changed

In some cases, parents might seek a child support modification because of changes in their child’s situation, not their own. If the child has become ill or requires more financial support than before, the court may grant a modification to better reflect the child’s new economic needs.

Child support modifications might be granted on a temporary basis or permanently, depending on the reason for the change. For example, if one parent lost his job, he may be granted a temporary modification until he gains employment again.

It is also important to remember that child support modifications must always be granted by the court. Even if the parent has experienced a serious change in circumstances, they cannot just stop paying child support, they must go to the court to obtain a legal modification.

Are you interested in obtaining a child support modification? Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. to discuss your case with our Murrieta family law attorneys.

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