How Can I Modify A Child Support Order?
Life never remains consistent. People change jobs, change career paths, return to school, marry and divorce. Those changes can sometimes mean a big change in a family’s income. For those who pay child support, but who need to have the amount they pay changed, they can contact their local child support agency in California. If a new calculation determines that the child support should be increased or decreased by at least $50 or 20 percent, the court can then step in. A modification review process can begin. This is the first step for modifying one’s child support in California.
What’s known as a modification packet can be requested, which kickstarts the process. This packet is sent to both sides – the parent who pays support and the one who receives the support for the care of the child. These packets are sent out of the city or county’s Child Support Services Department or CSSD. It contains information that will typically address any questions or confusion about the process while also explaining what happens at every stage.
Both sides will be requested to send in certain information. Among those requests:
- The party’s financial status
- Changes in the child’s needs, health or school requirements
- Changes in jobs
- Changes in marital status
After a review, and if it’s deemed the child support order should be modified, the California CSSD will then inform both parties and then file the required paperwork with the court. It’s at this point a court hearing is scheduled. If the two sides can agree on how much the support should change prior to the court hearing, the hearing can be canceled and the agreement is then filed with the court. Once it’s signed by the court officials, it becomes a formal court order and goes into effect at that point.
If the parties cannot agree on how much the child support should be modified, the judge will then make the determination. It’s worth noting that a judge might surprise everyone after considering all of the factors and determine a lower amount is payable (if a parent goes to court hoping to have child support payments increased). The judge might also determine no change is warranted.
If you think you would have to have your California child support order modified, you can request a review. In fact, California allows for online requests to be made. You’ll need to check with your California county’s website for information on the process. This, once it’s completed, will submit a request instantly. If you prefer, you can visit your county’s office and request a review in person. Your information will be taken and put into the system.
It’s important to understand that until a modification is made, child support must still be paid at the rate it’s at currently. Further, just because a modification review is requested, it doesn’t mean there will be changes and in fact, the changes might include higher payments. If you have concerns, you should contact your child support attorney for further guidance on a specific case.