How do I request to reduce my child support payments if I lost my job or my income has gone down?
According to California Child Support Services, either parent of a child (or any legal guardian of a child) can request a change to increase or decrease court-ordered child support at any time. That doesn’t mean that their request will achieve the results they want, but they have the right to ask.
You have a couple of options:
- Work with your local child support agency to have them review the case at no charge*
- *this process is often lengthier; so, if you’re pressed for time, it may not be the best option
- Petition the court with the help of a family law attorney or your county’s Family Law Facilitator
When Can I Not Modify a Child Support Order in California?
We want to get this out of the way early. There are some situations where you’re guaranteed to be denied a modification to your child support order. Three key circumstances stand out:
- You left your job voluntarily: If you purposefully drove down your income or you left your job, the court isn’t going to grant your modification request
- The modification you’re requesting is very slight: There needs to be a substantial change in a child’s needs or in a parent’s life before a court will approve a petition to modify a child support order; as a general rule, the change should be at least 20% of the existing order (or $50– whichever is less)
- You don’t want to pay child support: You have to provide a valid reason to modify your existing order for child support; if you just don’t want to pay or you think child support isn’t necessary, you’re not going to get any help from a court
When Can I Ask to Lower Child Support Payments?
When should I ask to lower child support payments?
Child support payments are about supporting the wellbeing of a young human; they’re important, but sometimes people end up in circumstances that make it difficult (or impossible) to make the same child support payments they once did.
There are some situations that commonly prompt people to ask for child support modifications:
- They are fired or laid off from a job
- Their income decreases
- You become disabled
- You go to jail or prison
- Your family size changes
- You are deployed to active military service
If you have questions about whether your situation might allow you to reduce child support payments, reach out to our legal team today for help.
Should I Ask For A Change In Child Support?
Sometimes, people go to court requesting for child support to decrease only to be hit with a surprise increase. It’s tough to predict what will happen; lots of factors determine child support calculations.
We always recommend consulting with a family law attorney to ask about child support. It’s easier to get answers to your questions from a trained legal professional than to try to guess what might happen based on anonymous advice on the internet.
What Do I Need to Prove to Lower Child Support Payments in California?
The proof you need to request a child support modification in Orange County
The proof you’ll need to request a child support modification depends on your circumstances. If you’ve been in jail or prison, for example, you’ll need proof of jail or prison status. If you’re disabled, you’ll need to demonstrate your disability status; and so on.
Most people will at least need to prove:
- Income and expenses
- Child care expenses
- Medical insurance
Many people also need to show:
- Retirement income
- Unemployment benefits
Never Lie About or Hide Your Income For Child Support
One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is to lie about their income in order to control the amount of child support they pay. If you’re caught and held in contempt of the court, you’ll need to deal with back-pay and interest at a minimum. You might even get in more trouble depending on the judge.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support Payment Modifications In California
Who is allowed to request to reduce child support payments in Orange County?
Either parent (or a guardian) of a child has the right to request a child support order modification from their local child support agency. That modification can be a reduction or an increase in payments.
Do I need an open case to reduce child support payments in Orange County?
Yes. You must have an open case (which can be opened at any time) in order to request a modification.
Can the order only change in the direction I request? For example, if I request to pay less child support, can my payment only stay the same or go down?
No. Your child support order may go up or down. It’s based on the information that’s gathered about your finances. In some cases, the order is not what’s expected.
My local agency denied my request to reduce child support. What can I do?
You still have the opportunity to work with a family law attorney and go to court. Once your case enters court, a county child support commissioner or a judge will decide the outcome of your order.
My child’s parent has a high income. I shouldn’t have to pay child support. What do I do?
Actually, your spouse’s income has nothing to do with your responsibility to pay child support. A custodial parent with high income does not justify deviating from child support guidelines.
- Your child (or children) have a right, by law, to benefit from both parents’ incomes
Pedrick Law Group, APC: Child Support Attorneys In Orange County, California
Our Irvine office is ideally located for family law clients in Irvine and Orange County
If you or somebody you love has questions about child support or family law, the team at Pedrick Law Group, APC may be able to help. Reach out to us online today or call us at 949-388-8682 to speak to a legal professional about your potential case.