Modifying a Child Support Order in California

When California courts enter an order requiring a person to pay child support, they typically use a formulaic approach to calculating his or her obligation. Courts base orders on parents’ situations at the time of the order. If an individual’s situation changes later, it may be possible to request a modification. Here are a couple of circumstances that would give a parent standing to petition a court to modify an existing child support order.


If a child begins spending more time in the care of a parent who is paying child support, it could impact a support obligation. Naturally, being responsible for caring for a child for more time will entail having to spend more on basic expenses, such as food and transportation. The parent with whom a child is now spending less time will not have to spend as much to care for a child as he or she did prior to the change. Ultimately, custody or the amount of time that each child will be with each parent can be a determinative factor in how courts rule on requests to modify child support. A child support attorney Fullerton CA, can help you evaluate whether changes in child care or custody merit a modification.

Job Loss

A sudden financial hardship caused by a job loss may make it difficult, if not impossible, to comply with a support order. In this type of situation, it’s imperative that a person get a modification rather than simply defaulting on a payment obligation. Failing to pay child support could result in a judicial finding that an individual has violated a court order. Verbal consent to suspend or reduce payment from the parent to whom a party owes support is not a defense to a default. Any modification to an order must be in writing and must be issued by a court.

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