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Can I request a child support modification at any time?

To request a child support modification in the state of California, a party must be able to show a change in circumstance. The only exception to this rule would be if the judge originally ordered a child support amount lower than the guideline based on the standard calculated formula. If this is the case, a modification may be requested at any time, under any circumstance.

There are several valid reasons which could be considered a change in circumstance, resulting in a modified child support amount. They are a change in income of one or both parties, loss of employment, incarceration, the birth of another child, change in parenting time, change in additional expenses (i.e. child care, health insurance, education), or a change in child support guidelines by the state.

If both parents agree to a specific change in amount, they simply need to draft a proposed agreement and present it to the judge for execution. Once signed by the judge, it becomes a new enforceable child support order. If both parents are not in agreement, the requesting party must file a motion for modification with the court. An experienced child support attorney can assist with this motion.

All parties should keep in mind that until a new order is physically executed by a judge, whether contested or not, the original order will remain in force. In other words, while waiting on a hearing date for a motion to modify, a party is still liable to pay ongoing child support in the originally ordered amount.

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