Skip to Content

Modifying Child Support Orders

parents and child

If you are a parent who is divorcing or about to divorce, nothing is more important than your children, their futures, and their well-being. After a divorce is final in California, both parents still have an equal obligation to support their minor child or children. Divorcing spouses often agree voluntarily upon how much the non-custodial parent should pay the custodial parent for child support. California family court judges will usually go along with a voluntary arrangement.

However, when child support becomes a matter of dispute between the divorcing spouses, a judge will make the child support decision according to what the court deems in "the child's best interests." California has established formal guidelines to help judges determine the proper amount of child support given to a custodial parent by a non-custodial parent after a divorce.

A California judge will use those guidelines to impose a child support order based on each parent's assets, income, and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The best interests of the child will always be a California court's highest priority.

Why Would a Modification be Needed?

Even when both parents or their attorneys can resolve the child support issue – or after the court renders a ruling – a change in circumstances at a later date may require a modification of the child support agreement or court order. In California, child support disputes are not always concluded simply because a divorce has been finalized, and the child support amount has been initially determined.

Whether a child support arrangement was voluntary or imposed, sometimes the support arrangement must be changed. Relocations, new jobs, new spouses, injuries, and illnesses are some of the reasons why a child support order may need to be modified.

There are several reasons why a child support order might need to be modified. Some of these reasons are:

  • One or both parents have become unemployed (or, in some cases, employed).
  • One or both parents have been incarcerated.
  • The income of one or both parents has changed.
  • One parent has had a new child with another partner.
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent has substantially changed.
  • The child's educational, medical, or child care needs may have changed.
  • The factors that are used to calculate child support have been changed.

Divorced parents should remember that they cannot simply make a new child support arrangement on their own without notifying the court. Unless and until the judge signs a new court order, the existing child support order does not change. Even if parents have a verbal agreement to change the child support amount, you need to protect yourself. Contact your family law attorney, put the agreement in writing, and have a judge sign it.

If you have questions or concerns about modifying your child support order, contact Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C. today by calling our Folsom child support attorneys at (916) 794-4576.