Ventura, CA Child Support Modification Lawyer
Child support orders are set based on a snapshot of the circumstances at the time. As your children grow and your life changes, the child’s support needs might be different, and your ability to pay could be greatly altered. In many child support cases, the payment amounts should change if either parent has another child, changes jobs, or undergoes other changes.
For help getting your child support order modified, contact our Ventura child support modification lawyers. The child support modification attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth can work to increase the amount of child support you receive or lower your child support payments. To schedule a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
Grounds for Changes to Child Support Orders in California
When the judge in your case sets your initial child support order, that amount is not made to dictate the permanent amount that you will pay forever. Eventually, your kids will grow up and leave home, you may have another child, or you may lose your job or get a substantial raise. Life changes like this alter the foundational numbers that the courts take into account when setting your child support amounts, and these changes can support changes to your child support order.
The initial child support calculation will be based on five primary factors:
- The child support payor’s and recipient’s incomes
- Each party’s expenses
- The parenting time split
- How many children each parent supports
- Medical conditions and other health factors that require additional expenses
If any of these factors change later, you can petition the court to recalculate the child support amounts. Payors may be able to request a lower amount while recipients may want to request additional child support. The following are all examples of changes in circumstances that can justify raising or lowering child support:
- The payor loses their job
- The recipient gets a raise or higher paying job
- One of the shared children turns 18 and graduates high school
- The payor has another child they need to support
- Either parent develops a disability that affects their income and expenses
- Any of the children develop a disability or health condition
- Either parent is incarcerated
- Either parent increases or decreases their parenting time split
In some cases, these kinds of changes will not be entertained as an excuse for altered child support orders. For instance, if you quit your job or got yourself fired just so that you can pay less child support, the court may not accept your request for lowered child support.
If the initial child support order was below the guidelines to begin with, you can request a modification at any time, even without changed circumstances. In some cases, your local child support agency (LCSA) might be able to request a change to your petition even without your consent or request.
Request Official Child Support Modification Before Changing Payment Amounts
Generally speaking, the parent who receives child support usually wants to request increased child support payments while the payor wants to request reduced child support or have child support stopped altogether. Many parents will try to take matters into their own hands if they are unhappy with the child support orders they received in court. This often results in parents asking for additional funds or stopping payments without court approval. Child support orders are court orders, and you should never resort to self-help if you are unhappy with the order.
Requesting additional money from the paying parent may be acceptable if your child support terms were based on an agreement or you are on good terms with the paying parent. However, it is always better to go through official channels and request increased child support payments in court if you need additional money to care for your children.
If you are unhappy with the amount of support that you have to pay, you should never stop payments without the court’s permission. In many cases, your wages will be automatically garnished to cover child support payments, which makes it difficult to stop payments in the first place. Regardless, you must continue to pay the full amount ordered in your child support order until the court modifies the order.
If your child graduates high school and turns 18, you may no longer have an obligation to pay child support. However, you must petition the court to stop child support payments, and you cannot stop paying on your own until the court approves the new child support order.
Talk to an attorney about how to file for increased child support or reduced child support payments. Do not take matters into your own hands without seeking court approval, or else you could face penalties.
Call Our Ventura Child Support Modification Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
If you are paying too much child support, if you need help getting higher child support payments, or if your children are grown up and you need to stop child support payments, contact our Ventura child support modification lawyers today. The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth’s child support modification lawyers offer free legal consultations to help you understand how to change child support orders in your case. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (805) 643-5555.