Lowering Child Support in California
Marriage of Usher involves a high income earner, substantial child support and a request to lower child support after a judgment has been entered.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THE REQUEST FOR ORDER FOR A REDUCTION OF CHILD SUPPORT
The father in this case earned more than $350,000 a month when the parties entered into an agreement that settled child support. The judgment for child support acknowledged that the amount of support deviated from child support guidelines, because the father was a high earner. The agreement also acknowledged that the amount of support was in the best interest of the minor child because the minor child’s needs would be adequately met by the agreement. The parents agreed that in order to modify child support in the future, a change in circumstances had to be proven. After the judgment was entered, the father requested a reduction in child support, because his monthly take home pay was reduced from $350,000 to $70,106.
REQUEST FOR A REDUCTION IN CHILD SUPPORT
At the modification of child support hearing, the father testified that his reduction in income should result in a lower child support order. The mother argued that the reduction in income should not affect the amount of child support, because the father had substantial assets that he could use to pay the mother child support. The family court lowered the child support amount, and the mother appealed.
APPEAL OF THE ORDER TO LOWER CHILD SUPPORT
The court of appeal reversed the reduction in child support. It found that the father had not demonstrated a material change in circumstances. In order to modify judgments, the moving party must prove a material change in circumstances exists that warrants a change in support. The appellate court noted that in determining a change in circumstances, the family court must not only look at the change in income of the parents, but also the assets of the parents. If the parents income producing assets can support the amount of child support, the court will not lower child support.
DO YOU NEED HELP WITH ISSUES RELATED TO CHILD SUPPORT?
If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as child support or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider our law office in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.