Have you suffered a decrease in income? Do you have more physical custody of your child than the court order states? Has the other parent received a raise or now has additional income that is a greater amount than what the original child support order was based on? If you answered any of these questions with a “yes” then you can ask for a modification of child support.
In order to ask for a modification of child support something needs to have changed from the time the order was made. If the income of either party has increased or decreased, then child support can be modified. If either party has actual physical custody of the child more or less than the order states, then child support can be modified.
If you lost your job or suffered a decrease in pay:
If you are parent that pays child support, then you can ask for a reduction of child support based on your income decreasing. If you lost your job, then the court will likely base child support on your unemployment income until you find a new job. When you find a new job, the court will base child support off of your new income. If you suffered a decrease in pay, the court should use your new reduced income to calculate child support. Keep in mind that if you intentionally quit your job or did something to intentionally reduce your pay to avoid paying child support the court can impute your previous wage to you. The courts do not like parties that intentionally try to reduce their earnings to avoid child support obligations.
If you are the parent that receives child support, then you can ask for an increase in child support based on your reduced income. The same rule applies here though, if you intentionally reduced your earnings to increase the payment of child support, the court can impute your previous wage to you.
If one party got a raise or an increase in pay:
If you are the paying parent and you received a raise or an increase in pay, your child support payment will likely increase.
If you are the parent receiving child support and the other party has an increase in income, you can ask the court to increase your child support.
If the physical timeshare of the child is different from the court order:
If you are the parent that pays child support and you have physical custody of the child in an amount greater than the court order, you can ask for a reduction in child support. Child support is based in large part on the amount of physical custody you have. If you are the paying parent, the more custody you have the less your child support obligation will be.
If you are the parent that receives child support and you have physical custody of the child in an amount greater than the court order, you can ask for an increase in child support. As the parent that receives support, the more physical custody you have of the child the greater your child support payment will be.
If there has been a change in either party’s income or in the physical custody of the child, you should file a Request for Order to modify child support. The change in child support is not automatic. For instance, if you lose your job, child support will not automatically decrease. You will need to file a Request for Order with the court to modify support. If you know there will be a change of circumstance in your income, you should consult an attorney to assist you in modifying child support. You don’t want to get stuck with an order that you can no longer afford due to a loss of employment or pay cut.
If you need assistance with modifying child support contact Lovette T. Mioni at Mioni Family Law to set up a consultation at (424) 259-1770. Mioni Family Law assists clients in Playa Vista, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Torrance, Culver City, and throughout the Los Angeles Area.