Requesting a Child Support Modification in California

If you are a divorced parent, whether custodial or non-custodial, a multitude of circumstances can change in the lives of you, your former spouse and/or your children. Any of these circumstances can warrant a change in the child support agreement you made during your divorce. The same is true for parents who never married but are not together.

Any custodial parent or caregiver, as well as non-custodial parents, can make these modification requests. Local child support agencies can make a request as well if there is an open case with the agency.

Parents can request modifications for a number of reasons, including:

— Being fired or laid off from a job– Increases or decreases in either parent’s income– Becoming disabled– Being deployed by the military to active duty– Being sentenced to prison or jail– Change in family size– Visitation or custody changes

The parent requesting the modification will need to provide documentation supporting their request. The specific documentation will vary depending on the grounds for the request.

Modification requests can be made through your local California child support agency. If you go to court instead, you may request free assistance from a family law facilitator who is available in the courthouse, or you may choose to have your own family law attorney represent you.

Of course, there are advantages to having your own attorney assist you, particularly if the other parent is going to dispute your modification request. He or she can take the time to get to know you and your situation and devote more time to your case. If this is the family law attorney who helped you with the divorce, that person already knows you and your family dynamics. Even if you choose to go through the local child support agency first, if that agency denies your request, you can still take the matter to court with the guidance of an attorney.

Source: California Department of Child Support Services, “Changing Your Child Support Amount,” accessed July 13, 2015

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