When a parent can get a child support modification

Before a parent asks for a child support modification in California, they need to understand the rules that apply. Changes to the child support order do not happen in response to small increases or decreases in income. Instead, a parent needs to have a substantial change in their income or child’s needs to persuade the court to grant a modification.

The general benchmark for what constitutes a substantial change in income is generally around 25%. If a person gets their usual annual cost-of-living raise, that would ordinarily not be enough to be considered substantial. On the flip side, one also needs a significant drop in income to receive a modification where they pay less unless they have had a considerable change to their expenses and their financial situation. Certainly, when a parent loses a job, they should file for a modification.

A parent is limited in the frequency of their modification requests. If they file a motion for a modification that is not allowed, they may be locked out from an additional request for some time. Accordingly, they need to have a sound basis for filing. When they are ready to make the request, they should approach the Office of Child Support Enforcement in their state. Each modification will require a court order. Thus, a parent may get their day in court if they are displeased with the result of the proceeding.

In the area of child support modifications, it may help to have a family law attorney. The attorney might help with persuading the state that there was or was not a significant change to income. The result of this hearing might dictate one’s financial situation for years to come. Many people simply do not know how modifications work, so an attorney’s counsel may benefit their client.