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Can child support orders be changed?

Sometimes, after a child support order is formed, circumstances occur that cause a parent to feel this order is no longer a good fit.

Here in California, there are ways parents can seek to get child support orders changed.

One route is to reach an agreement with one’s ex to alter the child support arrangement. As a note, child support orders remain in force until they are changed by a court. So, parents simply reaching an agreement to change a child support arrangement will not, by itself, formally alter the current support obligations. Rather, in order to make the change enforceable, parents have to submit their agreed-to child support change to a judge and get the judge’s signature.

What if parents can’t agree on a child support change? Then, the parent seeking a change may be able to make a request to the court to modify the child support order.

Now, California courts will not grant a child support modification for just any reason. Rather, it typically has to be shown that, since the current order was made, a change in circumstances occurred. Examples of things that may qualify as such a change include: job changes, income changes, changes in the child’s needs and major changes in how much time each parent spends with the child.

There is an exception to the changed circumstances rule. Such a change doesn’t have to be shown if the order a parent wants to have modified is below the child support guidelines.

Modification cases can vary greatly in their complexity level. Some are relatively straightforward. Others can get quite contentious and complicated.

So, what efforts to change a child support order will look like varies greatly from case to case. Skilled attorneys can give parents who desire a child support modification guidance tailored to their circumstances.

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