Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Under what circumstances can I seek to change child support?

For Orange County, California, parents who live in separate homes, child support is going to be part of their lives. Courts see child support not only as a part of a paternity or divorce case but also as an extension of a child's right to be nourished and cared for by both of the child's parents.

The upside to this view about child support is that, unlike other aspects of family law, child support orders can be changed from time to time. In California, if a parent wants to change his or her support order and cannot get the other parent to agree to it, the parent can file a request for a support modification in court.

If the court ordered a parent to pay less than what the state's child support guidelines required, then either parent can ask for a review of child support, although obviously they would want to have some indication that the support order will in fact change at the end of the day.

If, however, the judge who ordered support followed the state's guidelines, then the parent who wants to modify support cannot do so simply as a matter of routine or out of curiosity. Instead, he or she must show that there has been some "change in circumstances" significant enough to affect child support.

Examples of a "change in circumstances" would include job loss, a promotion or really any significant swing income. Other significant changes could involve things like the cost of health care, which parent is best able to afford health insurance for the children or how much time each parent is actually spending with the children.

Parents who find that their circumstances have changed such that their current support order is no longer affordable can file for a modification of that order. Likewise, parents who feel the other parent is in a better position to afford more child support can also seek a modification. Usually, it is a good idea to get an experienced family law attorney's help with initiating these legal proceedings.

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