When a judge determines child support, the amount is based on the parents’ circumstances at that time of the original order. If one parent experiences a substantial change in their life circumstances, either personal or financial, they may need to ask a court to modify the amount of support they provide to their child’s other parent each month.
Whether you believe you are overpaying child support or not receiving enough, a knowledgeable child support attorney could assist you. Let a Thousand Oaks child support modification lawyer who understands the California guidelines explain how a judge may calculate support in your case.
State law mandates that both parents support their children, according to their individual financial capacity to do so. To determine the appropriate support amount, judges utilize a complex formula known as the Statewide Uniform Guidelines. This formula considers:
When child support is calculated based on these guidelines, the amount is presumed to be correct. However, under California Family Code §4057, if the formula produces a child support figure that is “unjust or inappropriate,” a judge may deviate from the guidelines. A capable attorney is well-versed in the state’s guidelines and could help determine a child support award or modify it if the need arises.
As long as a judge used the child support guidelines to determine support and did not deviate from them, a parent seeking a modification must show a that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the original order that makes its terms obsolete. There may be many reasons for a parent to alter child support, including:
Discussing the case specifics with a diligent lawyer in Thousand Oaks could help determine whether to proceed with a petition to modify child support.
Under state law, a judge may order a new child support amount to be paid retroactively, beginning on the filing date of the modification request.
There are several exceptions to child support retroactivity. For example, a modification request based on a parent’s unemployment may be made retroactive to the date that the opposing party was served with a petition to modify or terminate child support. Additionally, if a parent is activated for military service or National Guard duty, a judge must make the child support order retroactive to either the date that the opposing party received notice of the activation or the activate date, whichever is later.
Until a judge issues a new child support order, the existing one remains in effect, and the parent who owes support must continue to pay it. However, a judge may require the parent who receives child support to reimburse the payor parent for any overpayments they made while the modification request was pending. Retroactive and reimbursement of child support are complex, and a lawyer is the best person to consult about these issues.
After a job loss or other significant change in finances that impacts your ability to pay child support, you need reliable information about your legal rights and responsibilities. Because child support modifications are not always retroactive, it is essential to seek an adjustment as soon as possible.
If you believe your current order should be changed, get in touch with a skilled Thousand Oaks child support modification lawyer for clear guidance on whether a request to modify is warranted in your case.
Hoffer Family Law Firm