Given the fact that your former spouse was a stay-at-home parent for more than a decade, you no doubt expected that the California court would implement a child support order when you divorced. As a good parent, you obviously want what's best for your kids, and you were more than willing to continue to help provide for their financial needs even though you were no longer married to their other parent.
Some time has now passed, and you may have found yourself in a position where you're no longer able to keep up with payments as they stand. It happens. Jobs change, income changes, medical issues arise and any number of other situations can occur that make an existing court order no longer feasible.
Seeking a modification doesn't make you less of a parent
You may be hesitant to request modification of your child support plan because there is indeed a certain negative stigma attached to such issues. Some automatically would assume you're trying to skate your fiscal responsibility toward your children. However, you know that's not true; so, by arming yourself with information and proceeding as the law allows, you may be able to rectify your problem and still fulfill your parental obligations. The following list includes tips that may help:
- It's crucial that the court clearly understands what has changed in your life to necessitate a modification to your child support order. Therefore, it's best to document any details that clarify the issue, such as medical situations, job changes, reduced income, etc.
- Going through the proper channels to submit a request in court is equally important. You can can't just start sending less money to your children. That could lead to a whole slew of legal problems. Following the process set in place by law is the easiest way to avoid complications.
- It's also important that you don't stop making payments during the process to request a modification. You are obligated to adhere to any existing court order. It is not your current need for change that allows you to pay less in child support. You must have court approval to do so.
Even though you're thankful that you earn a comfortable income and are able to make ends meet without a struggle, it doesn't mean you're immune from financial challenges and should never need to modify your existing child support order. You can't always control what happens in life, and if a need for change arises, it's best to address the matter promptly rather than wind up facing contempt of court charges if you fail to make your payments on time.
Attempting to modify a child support order on your own can be stressful. Many other California parents choose to rely on experienced assistance to alleviate such stress and expedite the process.