Life can be difficult after divorce, and things get even messier when things change and one or both parties has to ask for a modification to a child support agreement. California law looks at a number of potential changes in circumstances that can lead to an increase or decrease in child support payments, and parents have the option of working out a new agreement on their own that is signed by a judge, or going back to court. It is important that the party seeking the change do so officially, rather than based on just the word of the other parent. Verbal agreements are not legally binding in custody payment cases if one party changes his or her mind down the road.
Changes in Circumstances That Can Lead to Modification
While there are several changes in circumstances California courts consider pertinent to potential child support modification, some of the more common include:
- Change in income of either or both parents
- Loss of job by either party
- Incarceration of either parent
- A child from a different relationship
- A notable change in time spent with either parent
- The needs of the child have changed
How To Get a Modification
It is important to remember that unless a judge signs off on an order of modification, it is not legally binding. Parents who agree to support changes can opt to write their own agreement with the assistance of a lawyer and submit it to the court for a judge's signature. If there is a dispute, the party asking for the modification must file a motion with the court to get a modification of support hearing.
People who need to modify their child support agreements in California should try to initiate changes as soon as possible, as the courts only modify future, not retroactive payments. If you are seeking a modification, it is important that you have legal representation from an experienced California family law attorney, even if discussions are amicable. Don't wait until the day you need the modification, contact our firm as soon as possible to guide you through each step of the process. Before you leave, Call Steve!
Sources: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-child-support-modification.html, http://www.courts.ca.gov/1196.htm