A parent with custody of a child can ask child support from the other parent to help with the cost of raising that child. The parties do not need to be seeking a divorce in order for a parent to seek child support, and a parent who was never married to the other parent can also seek child support. Sometimes a person who is ordered to pay child support may experience difficulties in paying the ordered amount, or the parent receiving support may seek an increase in the amount received. As with most court ordered payments required in a divorce, a party seeking to make a change to the order must go to court to ask for a modification of the order. There are several criteria for modifying child support orders in California.
What Does the Court Consider When Modifying Child Support Orders in California?
In most cases, a court will change a child support order if the court finds there are changed circumstances to the paying party’s situation. These changed circumstances can include:
- Loss of income by the paying parent;
- Increase in income by the paying parent;
- Expansion of the paying parent’s family – having another child can affect the amount of disposable income; or
- The paying parent’s incarceration.
Parents can come to an agreement about the new amount of child support to be paid after consulting the California guidelines on child support. The parents would need to sign off on any new agreement and, if the local child support agency is involved, the representative would need to sign off on the agreement as well. The agreement is then presented to the judge for final approval. Unless the judge signs off on the order, there is no change to the order, and a parent who was ordered to pay must keep paying to avoid falling behind in payments.
Process for Modifying Child Support Orders in California
A person can file to ask to change a support order without hiring an attorney, just as they can when requesting an initial child support order. To modify child support, a parent must start by filling out a request for an order form, and a form detailing his or her financial situation. You can ask a family law facilitator to review these forms, or you can contact A People’s Choice, an experienced, non-attorney, affordable legal document preparation service who can prepare these forms for you.
Before filing the forms with the clerk of the court, you must make several copies, two or three depending on whether the child support agency is involved. After filing the forms and receiving a court date, you would then make sure that the other parent is served with the paperwork and notice of the court hearing. This must be done 16 days before the hearing. You also must remember to include blank copies of a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order form and an Income and Expense Declaration form. After the hearing, there are some additional forms you must file to make the change or modification into a court order.
A People’s Choice Provides Low-Cost Self-Help Legal Document Preparation
If you are considering filing a request to change a California child support order and want to avoid the high cost of attorney’s fees, contact A People’s Choice for low-cost legal document help. Although we cannot give legal advice, A People’s Choice can help you in preparing all the required legal documents to help you file to change an existing child support order or establish a new child support order without having to hire a lawyer.
If you need more information about the process of modifying child support orders in California, do not hesitate to call our office. Our document preparation services cover every county in California, A People’s Choice has been providing self-help legal document services for over 30 years and has established an excellent reputation in the community. When you are ready to go ahead with your paperwork, you can provide the necessary information to us through our convenient online system, over the phone or in person.