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Can California parents modify a child support order post-divorce?

When parents in California divorce, there are many important decisions that will need to be made regarding their children. One of these decisions is how much child support one parent must pay the other, to cover the everyday expenses incurred by raising a child. Of course, life is not static, and, sometimes, a parent's financial circumstances or time spent with the child will change after the original child support order is issued.

If there has been a significant change to either parent's income or how much time a parent has the child in their care, a parent may move the court to have their child support order modified. The court will make such decisions based on each parent's current situation. This means the amount of child support owed each month could either increase or decrease.

If it is the paying parent who is seeking a modification, it is important to note that they are still responsible for paying the current amount due in child support until the modification is approved, even if their income or time spent with their child has changed. This is true even if the paying parent has lost their job. If the paying parent cannot meet these obligations, they may incur interest on the unpaid balance.

It is important that both parents have the financial means to care for their child post-divorce. If a parent experiences a job loss, a promotion or a change in the amount of time the child is in their care, a child support modification may be sought. However, until the modification is approved, child support will still be owed. Moreover, the amount of child support could go up or down regardless of which parent is seeking the modification. For these reasons, many parents pursuing a child support modification choose to seek professional guidance, so they can make decisions that are appropriate given their situation.

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