Child Support Modifications Lawyers
As lives change, existing child support arrangements can become outdated. New financial situations, living arrangements, or medical situations can all necessitate child support modifications. Even if the arrangement was agreed upon at the time of divorce, it may no longer suit the needs of everyone involved.
Even when both parties agree to a proposed modification, it must be approved by the court. Unfortunately, the court process can take weeks or even months, causing both parents to deal with the current arrangement while the modification winds its way through the court system. At the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C., we work with both parties involved—and even the county, if necessary—to keep the process moving and work toward the approval of your child support modification.
Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. is proud to be your law firm for life. Our experienced family law attorneys understand that each family is different, and each situation requires a unique solution. If you are interested in modifying your child support arrangement, call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to speak with one of our family law attorneys today.
Reasons for Child Support Modification
In order to modify a California child support order, you must show the court that the circumstances have changed since the order was developed. Major changes to child’s life or the life of either parent—such as a new job, new marriage, or new school—can create the need for such a modification.
These situations can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Temporary situations that can lead to child support modifications include:
- Financial hardship on the part of the supporting parent; in other words, the payer is temporarily unable to pay child support due to illness, job loss, or an emergency
- Financial hardship on the part of the receiving parent; in other words, the receiving parent is unable to provide for him or herself and the child with the current support amount due to illness, job loss, or other factors
- Medical emergencies, either for the child, the receiving parent, or the supporting parent
Permanent situations that can lead to child support modifications include:
- Changes in income, such as a lost job, a salary reduction, or a salary increase.
- Change in custody, such as when a child decides to move in with the other parent or the custodial parent decides to move out of state.
- Changes to the visitation schedule, which cause the child to spend significantly more time with one parent than before.
- Changes in the child’s life, such as changing schools, which may lead to a significant increase or decrease in child care costs, education costs, or health care costs.
- Remarriage of either parent, which has a significant impact on household income.
- Disability on the part of either parent.
- Unfitness on the part of either parent, which can include alcoholism, drug use, or criminal activity.
It is important to note that California courts take all factors into account when re-calculating child support. Sometimes one parent requests a modification, thinking the court will reduce the support amount, when in fact the court decides to increase the amount. For example, say the non-custodial father changes jobs and has significantly less household income. He decides to file a request for a modification of child support, thinking he will be required to pay less. However, the court sees that he has also reduced the amount of time he spends with the child, which results in an increase in support amount. Overall, the father is now required to pay more child support, despite a decrease in household income.
In short, any factor that affected the initial calculation of child support can be considered when filing for a modification to child support. An experienced family law attorney can help you take all factors into account and calculate child support amounts.
Obtaining a Child Support Modification
If you have decided to seek a modification of child support, it is recommended that you consult a family law attorney. While it is sometimes possible to go through the modification process alone, a family law attorney can help expedite the entire process. With years of experience in family law, an attorney can help you file the right forms, notify the correct parties, and assist you during the hearing to ensure your modification goes as smoothly as possible.
If both parents agree on a new amount of child support, they (or an attorney) can submit a “stipulation” to speed up the legal process. A stipulation is a written agreement that shows both parties agree to this new arrangement; once a judge signs the stipulation, it becomes the new child support order.
If parents cannot agree to change the amount of child support, more formal processes must be followed. The parent requesting a modification will need to:
- Fill out several forms detailing the request and his or her current economic situation. (The forms and instructions are available on the California courts website.)
- Have the forms reviewed by a family law attorney or family law facilitator
- File the forms with the San Bernardino County court clerk (or the appropriate clerk for your county)
- Serve the papers on the other parent. (It is important to note that the parent requesting modification cannot serve the papers him or herself. Whether in person or by mail, another adult must serve the parent with the forms and a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order form.)
- File a Proof of Service form after the other parent has been served.
- Attend a court hearing, where the judge in your case will make a ruling on the child support modification.
Contact Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C.
Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. is proud to be your law firm for life. Our experienced family law attorneys are prepared to handle your case with dedication, compassion, and respect. We have extensive experience in trial litigation, mediation, and arbitration, and we can work with you to determine the best approach for your unique case.
If you are interested in modifying an existing child support order, contact the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. Our skilled attorneys specialize in coming up with creative solutions for different family situations, allowing you to put your child’s interests first. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation today.