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Child support modification filings need proper motivation

It is not uncommon for the financial circumstances of California parents to change. When the family court decides on the amount of child support a parent has to pay his spouse in order to care for their children, the income of both parents is taken into consideration. As time goes by, the needs of the children may change, and the custodial parent may need more money to provide in the increased needs. On the other hand, a noncustodial parent may become unemployed and without the means to pay the obligated child support.

To avoid a constant stream of unessential and superfluous modification filings, family courts will only consider the modification of a child support order if the applicant can prove that circumstances have changed significantly. The circumstances of a parent who was laid off temporally may not be considered as permanently changed. However, contracting a disease or becoming disabled may be regarded as a significant change of circumstances that warrants a modification.

Modification applications can be filed by custodial and noncustodial parents. If the custodial parent is struggling to maintain the living standards of the children, and can prove that the noncustodial parent has had an extensive increase in earnings, the family court may agree to modify the court order to an increased amount of child support. In contrast, if the noncustodial parent can prove such an increase in the income of the custodial parent, an application for the reduction of obligated child support may be approved.

California parents who are considering filing an application for child support modification may benefit from seeking advice to determine whether their claim of change in circumstances would be considered as such by the family court. They may also need some assistance in the preparation of documents required for the application. It can be critical to fully understand all rights under the law when seeking such a support modification.

Source:, "Modification of a child support order", Victoria M. Dalton, June 22, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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