When a California parent is obligated to pay child support by court order, it is crucial to comply. Nevertheless, once a particular order is issued, it does not necessarily mean it is permanent. There are several circumstances that may arise that would entitle a parent to seek a formal modification of an existing child support order.
A parent's living situation may change at any time. Sometimes, such changes are expected or even planned. Other times, an emergency might occur or some other completely unexpected change that affects a parent's ability to fulfill an existing child support obligation.
For instance, someone might lose his or her job. This would definitely be an example of circumstances that might prompt a parent to request a modification of a child support order. In fact, not even losing a job altogether but merely facing a significant change in income may place a parent in a situation where complying with an existing child support payment is no longer feasible.
If a California parent becomes incarcerated, a change in an existing child support court order might be necessary as well. However, the change is not automatic, and the existing order stays in effect until an application is made to and approved by the court. Also, many parents request child support modification when they remarry or have children in new relationships. These added financial responsibilities may spawn requests for changes in payments already being made from past relationships. A family law attorney can clarify any state regulations regarding child support modification and can help a concerned parent address the matter in court, if needed.
Source: FindLaw, "California Child Support Modification", Accessed on Nov. 8, 2017