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Sacramento Attorney Assists with Child Support Modifications

Skilled representation from a board-certified family law specialist

California family law recognizes a child’s right to receive support from both parents, but how much support often is a matter of controversy. California child support guidelines base child support on each parent’s net disposable monthly income from all sources and the amount of time each parent cares for the child as well as other facts. However, judges have some discretion to deviate from the guidelines if adhering too closely would be unjust and inappropriate. But what happens if, after the court issues an order, the circumstances change? When is it appropriate to petition the court for a modification of a support order, either to decrease or increase the amount a parent is required to pay? At the Law Office of Stephanie L. Williams, we often represent clients who are struggling with these questions.

What types of changes justify a child support modification?

The general rule is that there must be a substantial change in circumstances before a judge can consider amending a child support order. But the court will only issue such an order if it is in the best interest of the child. Circumstances that might justify a modification include:

  • A parent’s unemployment
  • A parent’s disability
  • A parent’s incarceration
  • A change in parenting time or residential custody
  • A child’s education or medical needs have altered

Certain questions can be tricky. For example, suppose a child resided 80 percent of the time with one parent and 20 percent of the time with the other, but the child started going to boarding school, so residential care for the child is now equal. That change might justify a modification in support, but maybe not, since the cost of maintaining a residence for a child is fixed.

Issues that complicate motions for child support modification

If you or the other parent wants a modification, consult a child support attorney immediately to get reliable advice about how to proceed. Here are just a few problems that can arise:

  • The parent requesting a downward modification due to financial hardship can demonstrate decreased earnings through tax returns, but is earning unreported income.
  • The parent requesting a downward modification is deliberately making less money to pursue some other interest.
  • The parents reach an informal understanding to reduce child support payments until the payor parent finds employment. After six months, the recipient parent goes back on the agreement and goes to court to enforce the full amount. The payor is liable for delinquent support, because a court never issued an order reflecting their “understanding.”

To make sure your rights, and your child’s, are protected in any motion for a modification of child support, trust your case to a board-certified family law specialist here in Sacramento.

Contact an experienced attorney in Sacramento for child support modification assistance

At the Law Office of Stephanie L. Williams, we represent clients seeking and opposing motions to modify child support orders. To learn how a board-certified family law specialist can represent your interests, call 916-407-0544 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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