When Can You Modify Child Support?
The family law court will consider increasing or decreasing child support obligations if one party undergoes a material change in circumstances since the date of the most recent support order. The court may consider modifying child support if there has been:
- An increase in the income of either party
- A decrease in the income of either party
- A change in the child custodial timeshare
Physical and Legal Custody
Changes do not automatically result in a modification of child support. For example, a parent may lose his or her job, but still have sufficient income from investment dividends or a severance agreement to continue child support payments. Child support duties do not terminate when one or both parents remarry. The number of children or dependents a parent has can affect the amount of child support.
When you need to either request or argue against a modification of your current child support order, rely on Minyard Morris. We offer extensive experience exclusively focused on Orange County’s family courts, as well as a stellar reputation in the legal community.
The Modification Process
Although the family law court may always modify a child support order, it may only modify it retroactively to the date that the party seeking modification filed and served a Request For Order (RFO). In other words, the court may not retroactively modify a child support order to a date before the other party is served with a request to modify support that was filed with the court. The parties may not bind the family law court to a specific standard of review or limit the court’s ability to modify a child support order.
What if The Parties have Already Made an Agreement?
The parties may agree to any level of child support they choose. However, such an agreement is not binding on either parent, or the divorce court. In addition, a child support order that clearly states that it is non-modifiable is still modifiable.
In other words, the parents can agree to a child support order that is below the guideline level and further agree that they will not seek to change the child support amount. Even with such an agreement, the parent receiving child support may petition the divorce court the next day for a modification of child support to increase child support to the guideline level, and that request would be granted. A child support order that is below guideline child support may be modified to the guideline number, without a change in circumstances.
Seek Legal Guidance
Our team of 16 divorce attorneys understands that the intricacies of child support modifications. When you need an advocate to work on your behalf, contact our office in Newport Beach to schedule a consultation. You may call 949-724-1111 or contact us online.