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5 Common Reasons for Child Support Modification

Typically, California courts do not modify a child support order unless there has been a material change in circumstances (for either the custodial or non-custodial parent). The court has the final say in the matter, and there are no hard and fast guidelines as to what warrants modification; it is determined on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, there are several instances which could be grounds for a review to determine if child support modification might be called for:

  1. The parent paying child support spends more time with the child, which would lower the support amount of the receiving parent.
  2. Increase in income of the parent paying child support, which would raise the support amount of the receiving parent.
  3. Financial hardship of the parent paying child support, which would lower the support amount of the receiving parent. Examples of this would be healthcare expenses from a major illness, inability to work, or the addition of other children to support.
  4. The mere passage of time, as the cost of living increases over the years, and the fact that it costs more to raise a child as they get older.
  5. Change in income of the receiving parent — either an increase of decrease in income could change the support amount up or down accordingly

It is important to note that child support modification orders in California are not retroactive. The earliest effective date of a new child support order is the date the motion is filed. For example, if a receiving parent files a motion requesting an increase in child support, the earliest effective date of the new order (if granted by the courts) is the date the receiving parent filed the request. It will not be retroactive back to the date the paying parent's salary increased (for example).

Disclaimer – The materials contained in this blog have been prepared for informational purposes only. The information contained is general in nature, and may not apply to particular factual or legal circumstances. In any event, the materials do not constitute legal advice or opinions and should not be relied up on as such.

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