What You Need to Know About Modifying a Child Support Order

If you are considering modifying child support, working with a credible child support modification attorney in Laguna Hills, CA is essential to help you understand the legal process and the grounds for modification. While it is possible to pursue a modification on your own, it can be a complicated and time-consuming process that requires knowledge of California’s specific laws and regulations.

At Trevino Law, we understand the legal intricacies of child support modification and will work tirelessly to ensure that your child receives the support they deserve. Schedule a free consultation with our California family law attorneys now and let us help you find the best solution for your child support modification case.

What is Child Support?

When child support is ordered by a California court, one parent is legally obligated to provide for the financial needs of his or her child or children. Child support refers to the amount of money the noncustodial parent pays to the custodial parent to help cover the child’s basic needs. Children are entitled to be supported by their parents in the same way they would have been had the parents not separated. A knowledgeable Laguna Hills family law attorney can help you navigate the laws and understand how child support works. 

A child support order can have a significant impact on your finances and your relationship with your children. The purpose of child support is to ensure that children receive financial support from both parents, even when they are not living together. It is intended to provide for the basic needs of the child, including food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care. 

What is Child Support Modification?

Once a child support order or agreement is in place, the payment amount may be increased or decreased under certain circumstances. Child support may be modified any time there has been a substantial and unanticipated change. Either the custodial parent who receives child support can petition for a modification or increase, or the noncustodial parent who pays child support can petition for a decrease.

You and your child’s other parent may agree to modify an existing child support order, but the proposed modification can’t be enforced unless a judge approves it. Just like an initial child support order, any modification must be consistent with the state guidelines. If you believe there has been a significant change to justify a child support modification, our trusted Laguna Hills child support modification lawyer can assist with every step of the process.

What are the Common Reasons for a Child Support Modification?

Even if child support has already been formally established by a court, you can still ask for a child support modification due to a change in circumstances. This is because even though a divorce may have been finalized, the lives of each parent and child are ever-changing. However, you’ll need to meet certain requirements for the court to consider a modification request.

Whether you’re hoping to reduce child support payments or wondering how to get child support increased in California, the state is pretty clear as to when it will allow parents to request a modification in child support. Our Laguna Hills CA child modification lawyer can help you determine the significant and legitimate reasons which may warrant a child support modification.

Substantial Change

When you’re requesting a child support modification, one of the parties must prove to the court that there has been a “substantial change of circumstances” that justify modifying an existing and valid judgment.  Such a standard has been set because the court favors stability and continuity in valid judgments and agreements. You must prove that there has been significant changes in circumstances since the existing child support order was issued. These changes must be:

  • substantial
  • unexpected at the time of the existing support order
  • permanent

Change in Income

The most common reason to seek a child support modification is that the paying parent has had an increase or decrease in income that would require them to pay more or less in child support. This could be through promotion, raise in income, inheritance, pay cut, or job loss. 

Change in Custody Arrangement

Changes in custody arrangement such as the child moving in with the non-custodial parent may require a modification of child support. The amount of time you spend providing hands-on childcare and housing influences your child support amount.

Change in Child’s Needs

Children move through many stages on their journey toward adulthood, and their expenses can go up and down for various reasons. If the child has new or increased medical or educational needs that were not considered when the original child support order was issued, this may be considered as one of the grounds for modification.

Number of Children Being Supported

If a parent remarries and/or has other children, the obligations and expenses will change. Child support formulas typically include adjustments when a parent is also supporting children from another relationship.

How to Request a Child Support Modification?

If your circumstances have changed, your order may be eligible for review and modification. There are three common ways to request a change in child support: by modification agreements, by requesting an agency review, and by filing a formal request with the family court. Our child support modification attorney in Laguna Hills, CA can help you know what to expect when you request a modification of your child support order. 

Modification Agreements

You and the other parent are always free to decide to adjust the amount of child support. However, you must submit your agreement for a judge’s approval before it can be made part of an official court order. The judge must ensure that any agreed modification to the child support amount will meet the child’s needs and be in line with the state’s guidelines.

Request a Review of Your Child Support Order

Every state has agencies that assist parents in getting child support. These child support enforcement organizations are required by federal law to have a process in place for evaluating current child support judgments to determine whether modifications are necessary in light of the parent’s current financial situation and other factors. 

Every three years, parents are usually entitled to an agency review of their child support order. Both parents will need to provide current financial information and documentation for the agency’s review.

Court Proceedings to Modify Child Support

To modify a child support order, a parent must file a motion with the court. You need to explain why you believe there’s been a qualifying change in circumstances since the date of the initial support order. 

The court will set a hearing date for the request for modification. Both parents will be informed of the hearing date and have the option to attend and present arguments in support of or opposition to the sought modification. The judge will consider all the evidence before issuing a decision. The final ruling will be sent to both parents, and either one of them may appeal within a set period.

Why Do I Need a Child Support Modification Attorney in California?

Child support is a contentious issue in the family court system, and it can be challenging to determine the best approach to this type of situation. In California, child support cases can be complex and emotionally charged. As a parent dealing with the complexities of child support, it is critical to work with a Laguna Hills child support modification lawyer who can guide you every step of the way. 

At Trevino Law, we are committed to:

  • protecting your legal rights and ensuring that your interests are represented in court.
  • helping you navigate the unique set of California laws and regulations.
  • assisting you in gathering and presenting all the financial documentation and evidence you will need to provide to the court.
  • helping you achieve the best possible result in your case, whether that means obtaining a fair and reasonable child support order, or ensuring that your interests are protected throughout the modification process.

Our family law firm handles matters related to child custody and child support, including petitions for child support and child support modifications. We understand that some parents have unique financial situations, and it is understandable for any parent to want the fairest possible child support terms. Contact us now and schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about your legal options. 

Call Our Experienced Laguna Hills Child Support Modification Attorney in Laguna Hills, CA Now!

The state of California takes child support matters very seriously. While efforts to modify a child support order are never guaranteed to be successful, the right approach might improve your odds. Ensuring the judge understands the significance of the change in your circumstances can be possible.

If you believe that you have grounds for a child support modification, it’s important to consult with our child support modification attorney in Laguna Hills, CA as soon as possible. We can help you understand your legal options, gather the necessary evidence to support your case and present your case effectively to the court. 

Our family law firm has extensive experience helping clients navigate the child support modification process in California. Don’t let the stress and complexity of modifying child support hold you back. Contact Trevino Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case. We also offer the following services:

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