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When California parents decide to divorce, one person is often given primary custody of any children the couple had during its relationship. Having primary custody status means that those children spend the majority of the time living with that parent and may visit or have scheduled time to live with the other parent. The parent who does not have primary custody often is required to pay child support for the children and that money is used by the primary custodian to provide for the kids.

As many readers know, however, circumstances surrounding family matters often change. The requirements of raising a child can force parents to review their custody orders and to decide if modifications are necessary. In some cases a parent with primary custody may have to relinquish that right and allow the other parent to become the primary custodian of their children.

According to the California Department of Child Support Services, when a parent gains custody or increased visitation rights to his or her children, that parent can seek to modify his child support obligations. Achieving such an end can be done by asking the local child support agency in the parent’s area to seek court approval of the modification or the parent can go to court and ask for the modification. Doing so can reduce or eliminate a new custodial parent’s requirement to pay for child support.

Child support is required from noncustodial parents in many cases so that custodial parents have financial help paying for their kids’ every day expenses. When noncustodial parents gain physical control over their kids, they often find themselves paying for more of the immediate expenses that relate to their kids’ upbringing. If they continued to pay child support they could find themselves paying twice for the needs of their kids.

Please note that the information in this post is general and every child support and child custody matter is different. The discussion contained herein should not be taken as specific legal advice. California family law attorneys can help their clients assess whether modifying child support obligations is possible when changes in custody arise.