How do I modify my child's support in Orange County California?
California Child Support Basics
How Do I Modify a Child Support Order in Orange County? When a child support order is created in California, it remains valid and can be enforced until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later. The original order is intended to cover the cost of the child’s needs, from healthcare and education to transportation and child care.
Child support is calculated in California according to child support guidelines. Generally, a judge will consider the following criteria, according to the guidelines.
• The amount of money the parents have the potential to earn,
• How much income each parent actually receives,
• How many children the parents have together,
• How much time each parent spends with the child - this may be regulated by a child custody and visitation order,
• The parents’ tax filing status,
• The amount of support the child receives from elsewhere,
• The child’s health insurance expenses,
• Any mandatory financial obligations the parents may have, from retirement contributions to union dues,
• The cost of child care, health care, and transportation of the child,
• Other factors may also be considered, depending on each family’s situation.
The issue with these considerations and costs is that as a child grows, his or her needs change. As parents move forward in their lives, their financial status may change, as may their needs or ability to meet financial obligations.
So, what happens when the current child support order no longer serves the needs of the family? When there has been a significant change in circumstances, a child support order may need to be modified.
If, for some reason the judge initially ordered a child support payment that is lower than what these guidelines suggest, the order can be modified and the amount increased to what the guidelines suggested without a change in circumstances. This applies to child support orders that were created by a judge, or through an agreement between the parents.
Under What Circumstances Can a California Child Support Order Be Modified?
Either of the parents of the child or the local child support agency can legally apply to have a child support order modified, as long as the motivation for the modification is in the best interest of the child.
To change a child support order, there must be a significant change in circumstances. Numerous situations can qualify, but they should fit into one of the following criteria.
• The income of one or both parents has changed,
• One or both parents has lost his or her job,
• One parent has been incarcerated,
• Either parent had another child in another relationship,
• There have been significant changes in the amount of time either parent spends with the child - this may be due to a modified child custody or child visitation order,
• The child’s needs have changed, either due to age, health care issues, child care needs, education, or more,
• Any of the factors that were used to determine the existing child support have changed.
It is important to remember that until a child support order has been legally modified, it can still be legally enforced. If circumstances have changed, and a parent is no longer able to make payments, it is important to modify the child support order as soon as possible. A child support order cannot be retroactively modified, and missed, late or incomplete payments in California do accrue interest at a rate of 10 percent per year until all payments have been caught up.
How Do I Legally Modify a Child Support Order in Orange County, California?
If the parents can agree on a child support modification, they can create a stipulation for the existing child support agreement, submit it to the judge for a signature, and it will become a new child support order. However, if the parents cannot agree, either the local child support agency or one parent has to file a motion with the court, requesting a modification of a child support order.
To request a modification to an existing child support order, it is best to discuss your case with an attorney. Even if you expect that your payments will be decreased, they may increase. The judge will reexamine the criteria listed above, and the new support order will reflect the current needs, abilities and financial situation of both parents and the child.
First, you will need to fill out and file a Request for Order, and an Income and Expense Declaration or a Financial Statement. Your attorney can help you determine which financial form you need, and you should always have the forms reviewed by an attorney before submitting them.
Prior to filing the forms, make sure you have two copies, in addition to the original. The court will keep the original on file, and the copies will be sent to you and served upon the other parent.
The court will set a court date, at which time your child’s other parent will need to be served with the paperwork either through certified mail, or with a process server.
At the court hearing, a judge will determine whether or not the child support order should be modified, and what the new terms of the order will be.
After the court hearing, the judge can sign the new child support order. Check with your attorney to see if you need to take any further steps to get this signature - in some courts it is the clerk’s responsibility, while in others, it is the responsibility of the petitioner.
Every time the court issues a new child support order, each parent needs to fill out a Child Support Case Registry Form, which will be kept confidential with the State of California, and not with the Court. This form can help with child support enforcement, if necessary.
Orange County Child Support Modification Attorney
If there has been a change in circumstances in your child’s family and the existing child support order is no longer serving its purpose, contact a child support attorney with experience modifying child support orders. At Yanez & Associates, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Table of Contents
- 1 How do I modify my child's support in Orange County California?
- 2 Under What Circumstances Can a California Child Support Order Be Modified?
- 3 How Do I Legally Modify a Child Support Order in Orange County, California?
- 4 Orange County Child Support Modification Attorney