California parents who are owed child support payments should be aware of how and when they can ask for a modification. Under some circumstances, child support can indeed be modified. These circumstances include a change in the non-custodial parent’s income and a change in the child’s need, such as education or medical expenses. Requests can be filed through the Child Support Enforcement Office in the state where the original order was granted.
However, some states have placed limits on how often a parent can request a child support modification. They may only review requests every 24 months, for example, which can pose a problem for parents whose financial situations have frequent fluctuations. In states that limit requests, the courts will not be willing to make exceptions even if there is a significant reason to request a modification.
A custodial parent should only request a child support modification if there has been a significant change in the child’s financial needs or an ex-spouse is making significantly more money than he or she was before the child support order. This is especially true in states that limit modification requests. For example, a custodial parent could request a modification for a small amount only to lose the ability to request a modification when the child’s needs suddenly change. In some cases, if the courts do not believe the modification request is substantial, they will outright deny the request. Courts will also investigate the custodial parent’s income to see if he or she needs the modification in the first place.
A parent who is concerned about whether he or she should request a child support modification might consider working with an attorney experienced in family law. An attorney may be able to help a parent determine if the courts will grant such a request.