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Child support modification in California

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | Child Support

When a couple with children divorce, several factors are taken into consideration in order to arrive at a child support amount that the non-custodial parent needs to pay to the custodial parent toward the expenses for the child’s upbringing. However, expenses can change with time and that may necessitate a revision on the child support amount. In fact, there may be other reasons too for which a revision of the child support amount becomes necessary.

According to California family law, a custodial parent, a non-custodial parent, the local child support agency, or the child support agency from another state can file a request for child support modification. In order to file the request, the person or the entity can either approach the local child support agency or go to court and submit the request.

It is important to remember that a child support modification request needs to be backed by what the courts call “significant change in circumstances.”  The loss of a job or a reduction in income, changes in custody and visitation arrangements, disability, incarceration or active military deployment are some reasons that the courts consider valid.

The child support modification process

Child support agencies and courts rely on a number of documents that the petitioner needs to provide. Examples of such documents include, but are not limited to, statements of income and expenditure, medical insurance, child care costs, unemployment benefits, disability status, and documents related to current custody and visitation arrangements. In most cases, the modification request is granted if the child support amount is likely to change by 20 percent or $50, whichever is lower.

Once this process is completed, the custodial and the non-custodial parent sign a “Stipulated Agreement” that needs to be filed with the court. In the event that the parents are not able to come to an agreement, they have to appear before a judge or a commissioner who will then determine what the modified child support amount should be.