Can I modify my child support payments in California?

Can I modify my child support payments in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Child Support |

Judges in California and around the country order noncustodial parents to pay child support to ensure that their children receive adequate care and do not become burdens on the state. The amount they are required to pay is based on income, and it can be modified from time to time if their circumstances change. Child support orders are usually modified when one or both of the parents earns significantly more or less than they did when the order was issued, but they may be revised even if there is no change in circumstances if both parties agree.

Change in circumstances

When both parents feel that child support payments should be increased or decreased, they sign what is known as a stipulation agreement and submit it to a judge for approval. When one parent thinks that a child support order should be modified but the other does not, a hearing is scheduled so a judge can hear arguments from both sides.

Modification hearings

After hearing from both parents, judges determine whether or not the change in circumstances warrants a modification. This usually happens when the modification will change the monthly payment by at least $50 or 20%. Parents who seek modifications are expected to support their arguments with documents like paystubs and bills for child care and medical services, and they must also convince the judge that their change in circumstances is likely to be permanent.

Avoiding conflict

Child support can be a contentious issue, and it is not uncommon for parents to become embroiled in bitter disputes over modifications. This can be avoided if parents approach modifications pragmatically, and they should also understand that judges follow strict guidelines when they calculate child support and base their decisions on facts rather than emotions.