Sometimes, situations arise that necessitate a change to a previously issued child support order. Either the payor or the recipient may petition the court to modify a previously issued order when a change demands it.

People may wish to modify a child support order due to a significant change in income for either party or to reflect a change in the child’s primary residence. In some cases, a person may have lost their job and have difficulty making their child support payment due to the change in their financial circumstances. In other cases, either parent may learn that the other parent has enjoyed a significant increase in income, and the moving party may wish to seek a new child support order in order to reflect an amount based on the new income level. A parent may have been incarcerated, or a parent may have had a child in another relationship whom he or she must also support.

No matter what the reason for seeking a modification, the moving party can initiate the action by filing a motion to modify with the court that has jurisdiction. If the parents agree to the modification, they can file a stipulated motion with the court. In circumstances in which an agreement is not reachable, then the party that files the motion to modify will then need to have a copy of the motion served on the other parent. The court will hold a contested hearing at which both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence regarding the requested modification.

Life circumstances sometimes change, requiring a modification of a previously-issued child support order. In order to accommodate such changes, California law establishes a way in which parents can seek a modification. Until a new order is issued, parents must continue paying child support as previously ordered.

Source: Judicial Council of California, “Changing a Child Support Order“, December 07, 2014