Post-Divorce Modification of Child Support
A California divorce becomes final when the judge enters a final Judgment dissolving the marriage. This Entry of Judgment includes other orders as well on matters such as the division of community property, child custody, child support and spousal support. As with the divorce itself, these orders are meant to be final. However, California law does recognize that circumstances may later change that justify modifying or even terminating those court orders. The law allows people to return to court post-divorce and ask the court for a modification of a court order regarding child custody, child support or spousal support. The property division is not modifiable except in unusual circumstances, such as when the property is awarded as support for the children. If you need further help in a child support modification, contact a lawyer from our law offices for assistance.
Only a court can modify a court order, so a party seeking a modification would have to go back to court for the modification. If the other party opposes the modification, then a period of litigation and courtroom hearings may be necessary to decide the matter. If you are seeking or opposing a post-divorce modification of custody or support orders in Los Angeles family court, the family law attorneys at Blasser Law can provide guidance, support, advice and representation to make sure your needs and those of your children are protected and represented in any proposed modification.
Modification of California Child Support
Child support is determined according to a formula set out in the California Child Support Guidelines, which takes into account a number of factors such as each parent’s income, the needs of the children, the number of children to be supported and the percentage of time each parent has with the children.
Courts can initially deviate from the Guidelines amount if warranted by special needs of the child. Additionally, the child support amount can be modified months or even years later if there has been a significant change in the factors used to determine child support initially. For instance, a change in the parenting time or visitation schedule could justify a modification to the amount paid for child support, or even which parent is required to pay support. The educational, medical or other needs of the children being supported could also change significantly due to some unforeseen event or simply as the child grows and develops normally. Los Angeles county family law judges will always consider what is in the best interests of the child in deciding motions to modify child support. It is up to the parents through their attorneys to make convincing legal arguments to the court why a modification should or should not be made.
Spousal Support Modifications in Los Angeles County Courts
A significant change in circumstances can also provide the basis for modifying a California spousal support or alimony award. A significant change in income is a typical reason that may lead a former spouse to return to court seeking a modification of spousal support. This income change could be an increase or decrease of either party, such as a job loss for the payor or a large rise in income for the recipient of support. Also, if the party receiving support moves in with a new partner or remarries, this is frequently an occasion for the paying party to ask the judge to reduce or even terminate the spousal support.
Since child support and spousal support are court orders, it is necessary to go back to court to get these orders changed. If one party is seeking a modification and the other party is opposing it, the parties will have to litigate the matter in court and provide evidence to allow the court to decide how to rule. For instance, when income is at issue, the judge may ask to see paystubs, tax returns and other evidence of the parties’ incomes.
It may not be necessary to litigate or go back to court if the parties have addressed the issue of modification in a marital settlement agreement. For example, the parties may have agreed on spousal support with a clause that support would be terminated if the recipient began cohabiting with another partner for a certain length of time. It can still sometimes be necessary to go to court to enforce a martial settlement agreement if the provisions are unclear or are not being followed.
Get Help with Modification of Support from Our Diamond Bar Family Law Attorneys
The Diamond Bar family law attorneys at Blasser Law can help you through the divorce modification process in Los Angeles. Whether working with you and your former spouse to agree to a modification or representing your interests in court, you will find our California lawyers to be strong advocates for your interests who listen to your needs and work diligently to secure a satisfactory resolution. Call our office at 909-843-6363 to schedule a consultation with a lawyer regarding modification of child support or spousal support after a California divorce.