• modify custody and support in California

How to Modify Custody and Support in California

As time passes, it is not uncommon for parents to change an existing child support or child custody plan. In California, mandated child support is based on calculations according to California guideline support parameters. This calculation is often called a “Dissomaster Report.” When a parent modifies the custody or visitation plan which alters the percentage of time one parent has with the children, this change will impact the amount of California guideline child support one parent my be required to pay to the other. It should be noted that parents are not required to use the guideline support under California law. If two parents mutually agree to an amount that is different than the Dissomaster guideline calculations, the court will still approve the order. The only time the court mandates guideline support is when a matter is contested and the Judge is required to calculate and impose the support under the California guidelines based upon an existing or modified custody and visitation plan.

Changing Custody or Visitation – How to Modify Child Custody

Parents typically revise custody  or visitation plans every 2 to 3 years. In order to modify a child custody plan or change visitation, parents will typically meet with each other and a mediator to discuss the matter in detail. If the parents can reach an agreement, they can enter a stipulation for a new plan.

If parents are unable to come to an agreement about an existing child custody order or how visitation periods should change, a formal hearing can be requested in which the court decides if a change should be made. The moving party will have to show that there has been a significant change of circumstances to modify a legal or physical custody order or strong basis to change the current visitation schedule. A request for order will need to be completed and filed with the court. Upon filing the legal documents, the moving party will receive a court date and be required to serve the opposing party (notice). Once this is completed, the proof of service will need to be filed with the court.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the forms that must be completed and filed with the court when seeking a request for order to change an existing child custody or visitation order. Filling out the forms incorrectly can subject you to delays and unwanted legal costs.

Changing Child Support When Custody Changes – How To Modify Child Support

In California, parents are obligated by state law to financially support their children upon divorce and maintain their child’s current standard of living. Each parent is obligated to provide support relative to their income and time spent with the child. For example, if a father spends more time with his child in comparison to the child’s mother, the mother would be required to pay a higher percentage of support than the father.

Under certain circumstances, a child support order may need to be modified. There must be a material change in circumstances present in order for a judge to modify an existing child support court order. Below are some of the main reasons a parent may request to modify an existing order:

  • Change in child visitation time
  • Change in ability to pay support
  • Extreme financial hardship
  • A parent is incarcerated
  • A parent has another child with a new partner or spouse
  • The child’s needs may have changed (example – health care expenses may have increased)

In order to modify an existing order, a request for order to modify support must be filed in the court in which the underlying judgment was rendered. Moving papers will have to be served on the opposing party along with an updated income and expense declaration. The moving party will have the burden to show to the court why the existing order should be modified. Note, if the judge previously ordered a child support amount below the legal guideline amount, a request to change that amount can be made at anytime.

Hire A People’s Choice to Modify Custody and Support in California

You do not have to hire an attorney for representation in modifying a child custody plan or child support order. We can help you complete and file all the required paperwork with the proper court. Depending on the nature of your relationship with your ex-spouse/partner, you may be able to reach a modification agreement and draft a stipulation without the court’s involvement. Contact us for more information on how to modify a child custody plan or child support order in California. Call 1-800-747-2780 to speak with an experience registered legal document assistant about your particular situation.

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By |2018-01-18T15:47:36+00:00May 10th, 2015|Family Law|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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