In California, the amount of child support a parent will pay is determined based on a set of state guidelines. These guidelines take a number of factors into account, including both parents’ incomes and other financial responsibilities. If the parent responsible for paying child support has a sudden reduction in his or her income, it can become difficult to pay the child support payments.

To reduce the financial stress on the parent, he or she can ask the court to modify the child support order. Although all the parent has to do to get the process started is to file the modification at the court that finalized the agreement, the parent must be able to prove that the change in his or her financial status is significant. For example, being laid off or suffering a debilitating injury may be enough to be granted a modification.

If the change in circumstances is temporary and the parents are on amicable terms, they may be able to come to an agreement outside of court. If parents do not want to litigate a child support modification but are having trouble reaching an agreement on their own, there are a couple formal methods that can be utilized, such as mediation.

When parents split up or divorce, the parent who becomes the primary caregiver of the child is usually awarded a certain amount in child support each month. This money can be used to provide for the child and can go towards housing costs, food, clothing and other basic necessities, such as healthcare and education. However, a parent should not go into debt when trying to make his or her child support payments. A family law attorney can help a parent document a change in the parent’s financial circumstances and represent the parent when seeking a modification to the child support order.