Los Angeles Child Support Modification Lawyer
Despite the breakdown of a marital relationship where children are involved, the non-custodial parent still has a legal obligation to support minor children under California law.
After a court enters a child support order, there may come a time when one or both parents, for a variety of potential reasons, wish to modify child support. If you are seeking to modify a court's Child Support Order, our experienced Los Angeles child support modification attorneys can help by filing the necessary petition with the appropriate California court.
Child Support Guidelines
California courts use a series of guidelines, called Child Support Guidelines to arrive at the amount of the non-custodial parent's child support obligation. These guidelines take into account the incomes and financial circumstances of each parent, as well as the financial needs of the children, among other factors. When one spouse remarries in California, the remarriage does not directly impact any existing child support orders.
In California, the Child Support Guidelines are not set in stone. Therefore, a judge has discretion to deviate from the Guidelines on a case-by-case basis. After a California court determines an appropriate amount of child support and memorializes that number in a Child Support Order, that order may be subject to future modification based upon a material change in the parties' circumstances.
Grounds for Child Support Modification
If a judge enters a child support order for an amount below the amount referenced in the Child Support Guidelines, a party may seek a modification of that amount at any time – without needing to demonstrate anything else. In cases where the child support ordered was not below the amount required by the guidelines, child support modification decisions are based upon whether or not there was a ‘material change in circumstances' in the life of the parents or the children. In some cases, a subpoena may be needed. Speak to a Los Angeles child support modification lawyer at our law firm for more information.
- Change in one or both of the spouses' incomes (including one spouse's loss of employment)
- Incarceration of one of the spouses
- One spouse having another child from a different relationship
- Extraordinarily high income
- Changes in the child's personal or educational needs (including changes in child care, health, or education-related costs and expenses)
- Significant changes in the amount of time the child spends with each parent
If both parties can agree upon a child support modification, they can memorialize that agreement into a written stipulation which must be signed by a family court judge. However, if the parties cannot reach an agreement about the amount of child support, one of the parties must file a Motion for Modification of Child Support with the Court, after which time a family court judge will consider some or all of the above-referenced factors.
Do You Need an Attorney to Modify an Existing Child Support Order in California?
If you are considering trying to have an existing child support modified, you may be wondering whether it is worth the time and expense associated with retaining an Los Angeles family law attorney. You may believe that you can “work it out” with your child's other parent or that the court will agree with your position based on its merits.
While it is certainly possible to come to an agreement with your child's other parent without the representation of an attorney or make your case in court, it is important to keep in mind that the representation of a divorce lawyer can have a significant impact on the outcome of a child custody dispute.
When you retain a family law lawyer, they will communicate with your child's other parent on your behalf. This can facilitate constructive communication, which can be difficult for individuals who were once romantically involved.
Furthermore, judges may not share your opinion regarding what does or does not constitute a “material change in circumstances.” An attorney can represent you in court, argue your case, and present evidence that supports your contention that an existing order should or should not be modified. See related information: When Does Child Support End in California?
Contact a Los Angeles Child Support Modification Attorney
The needs of every family change over time, and child support modifications are fairly common. Our experienced Los Angeles child support lawyers will be able to review all of the facts and circumstances of your case and assist you with taking the necessary legal actions to modify a standing child support order.