If you have recently lost your job or experienced a reduction in income, you may be struggling to pay your monthly bills. While delinquency with some of your regular expenses may not be too much of a concern, you do not want to fall behind with your child support payments.
Because failing to pay child support has some serious consequences, you may be better off seeking a modification of your current support order. In California, a change of circumstances may be sufficient to convince a judge to lower the child support you must pay.
The change of circumstances test
Judges in California enjoy wide latitude to modify child support orders, provided their actions are necessary and proper to meet the best interests of your child.
Still, in your request for reduced child support, you likely need to demonstrate a change of circumstances. The following may constitute the requisite change of circumstances under California law:
- A change in either parent’s employment
- A change in the needs of the child
- A change in parenting time
These potential changes in circumstances are not exhaustive. That is, you may have other compelling changes that may convince a judge to rework your child support obligations, particularly if the original determination was incorrect.
An element of risk
Either the paying or receiving parent may request a modification of child support. Doing so, though, is not without risk.
If you ask a judge to lower your payments, he or she may do the opposite. Still, if you are having trouble paying child support, pursuing a modification of your support order may be a risk you are willing to take.