When a California family law judge hands down a ruling regarding child-related issues in divorce, both parents are legally obligated to adhere to the terms of the court order. In many cases, this type of ruling includes instructions for paying child support. A parent providing financial provisions for his or her children must continue to do so according to the terms of an existing court order unless and until the court modifies the order.
Even if a parent believes there is just reason to temporarily (or permanently) stop making payments, only a new court order enables him or her to do so without being at risk for being held in contempt. A parent may, however, petition the court for child support modification. Anyone who does this should be prepared to show evidence of need.
This means that the parent in question must convince the judge overseeing the case that there is a valid reason for requesting a change to the existing agreement. If a paying parent changes jobs and has experienced a reduction of income that makes his or her child support payments no longer feasible, the court might deem it appropriate to lower the payments. Other factors of consideration that might prompt a judge to modify a court order include an increased cost of living, parental incarceration, a remarriage on either side of the equation, or a significant change in a child or children's needs.
Regarding remarriage, if a parent paying child support incurs additional household expenses because of an expanded family size, it would definitely be a valid reason for requesting an adjustment of a support order to be reflective of the household's financial needs. An experienced California family law attorney can help a concerned parent file the appropriate petition. An attorney can also help rectify any other legal problem that arises pertaining to post-divorce custody and support issues.