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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Will the court approve child support modification in your case?

You love your children and, like most good parents in California, you want what is best for them. When you divorced, you figured that would include paying child support and you were more than willing to do so for their sakes. In fact, you were even willing to pay for non-support expenses, like helping them out with a little spending money when they took a school field trip. You were determined to do whatever you could to help them adjust to their new lifestyle in a healthy manner.

Everything was going well for a while, until your boss told you they were cutting costs and eliminating a few positions to do so, and yours was the first to go. Thankfully, it didn't take you long to find another job; however, you had to relocate and were hit with moving expenses, not to mention the new position didn't pay near as much as the first. You have really been scrounging the bottom of the money barrel to meet your child support payments.

You're not alone in your struggle

Try not to be too hard on yourself regarding your current financial struggles. Many other parents know what it's like to experience changes in circumstances, leaving them unable to keep up with court-ordered child support payments. The following list can point you toward possible solutions and also provides useful information that may apply to your situation:

  • You can file a petition to request child support modification.
  • You must show evidence of your changes in circumstances to the court.
  • Your ex must agree to a new plan and the court must approve your new agreement.
  • A change of income is often a valid reason for requesting lower payments or temporarily stopping payments altogether.
  • If you or your former spouse have entered a new marriage, and especially if that union includes children, it may impact your current child support situation.
  • If you have other expenses, such as medical bills, that are also impeding your ability to meet your current payment amounts, you must provide written documentation of those expenses to the court.

In California, the court may agree to adjust your payments by $50 or 20 percent, which ever amount is less. If your ex is fighting you on this, you may have to resolve the matter through litigation. The worst thing you can do is stop making payments or changing your payment amounts without the court's permission. This will undoubtedly create serious legal problems.

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