Child Support Modification
Even the most amicable divorce might require a support modification at some point. Even if both parties agree on the amount of child support or spousal support at the time of the divorce, circumstances change and develop over time. If the agreement is outdated or no longer fair, it might be necessary to seek a support modification.
Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. is proud to be your law firm for life. Our experienced attorneys understand that, as life goes on, situations change. If these changes affect your child support or spousal support agreement, we can help. Our caring and experienced family law attorneys will work with you to determine the best possible outcome for you and your family. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to speak with one of our attorneys today.
Child Support Modification
If one parent has been ordered to pay child support, a formal modification is needed to change the support amount. In order to obtain a support modification, you must be able to show the court that circumstances have changed since the original order was drawn up. Major changes to the life of the child or either parent can necessitate a support modification, and these changes can be temporary or permanent.
Temporary conditions that qualify for a child support modification 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 conditions that can qualify for a child support modification 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 remember that a California court will take any and all factors into account when asked to re-assess child support. In some cases, the supporting parent wants a modification because one factor has changed (e.g. income), but another factor (e.g. the visitation schedule) has also changed, affecting the overall child support formula. For example, say the non-custodial father is laid off and has to pick up a much lower-paying job. He decides to file a request for a modification of child support due to the significant decrease in household income, thinking the court will reduce the amount of child support he is required to pay. However, he has also significantly decreased the amount of time he spends with the child. The court sees that his visitation has decreased, which results in an increase in required child support. These factors could offset each other, resulting in little to no change in child support, or the reduced visitation time could ultimately lead to an increase in child support.
Spousal Support Modification
Spousal support can be one of the most contentious and serious issues in a divorce—both during the divorce process and after. One of the most difficult parts of spousal support can be ensuring that the support order remains fair and up-to-date in the years following the divorce.
Just like child support modifications, you must show a “material change of circumstances” in order to get a spousal support modification. Examples of a significant change in circumstances include:
- A significant change in either spouse’s income/ employment
- The spouse receiving spousal support remarries or is cohabitating
- The spouse receiving spousal support is self-supporting
- The spouse receiving spousal support does not take the necessary steps to become self-supporting
- The spouse paying spousal support retires
Spousal support modifications often depend on the terms of the original agreement. For example, spousal support amounts can typically only be modified within the time limits of the original order. Short-term marriages (usually less than 10 years) typically have spousal support orders that last a maximum of half the length of the marriage; after that period of time, the spouse receiving support is usually unable to modify the spousal support arrangement.
In certain situations, the person providing support can file for a termination of spousal support payments. If the situation has changed substantially (i.e. the person receiving support has remarried or taken a new job), the supporter can argue that the one receiving support no longer needs to receive alimony. However, this is subject to the original order’s terms of termination. Some spousal support orders are “non-terminable,” meaning they cannot be terminated prior to the end date of the order.
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 understand that as circumstances develop and lives change, your original support order can become outdated. However, each family is unique and each situation requires a unique solution. Our caring and experienced attorneys will work with you to figure out the best solution for your family, whether that be mediation, arbitration, or traditional litigation.
If you are looking to change an existing child support or spousal support order, Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. can help. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to speak with one of our family law attorneys today.