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Can child support be modified if my ex stops working?

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In a recent post, we highlighted the value divorced and separated parents can realize by planning in advance for the holiday season. With the upcoming school year beginning shortly, after school child care costs may be of concern, especially if one of the parents (particularly the non-custodial parent) experiences a job loss.

Indeed, the nation's economy is such that more people are going back to work, but it is not uncommon for someone to accept a lesser paying job simply to make ends meet. Given that possibility, can one ask the court to reduce a child support obligation based on a person's lack of work?

Under California law, family court judges will consider substantial changes in circumstances, such as a job loss or other financial calamity when deciding whether to modify a support obligation. When a child support obligor experiences a job loss or has genuine drop in income, a court may incorporate a temporary modification so that any arrears may be avoided.

Indeed, this may be different for support obligors who voluntarily leave their employment. It is not unheard of for people to claim that they are having difficulties finding work when they are really voluntarily unemployed in order to avoid support payments. In these circumstances, courts may calculate a support amount based on what the person would make given their education level and years of work experience.

If you have additional questions about child support modifications, an experienced family law attorney can help.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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