California is a progressive state when it comes to child support issues. Child support modification can be obtained by petitioning family court and is usually obtained by a custodial parent whenever necessary and can include an increase in child support, a decrease in the amount or elimination of existing child support.
A precondition of child support modification is, however, an alteration or modification in circumstances. Only a significant change can enable a parent to demand a boost or a reduction in the existing child support. Change in this case legally means a permanent change that is substantial in nature. Being temporarily laid off from a job, for instance, is not necessarily deemed permanent for the purposes of modification.
Further, the burden of proof of change lies on the parent requesting the modification. A judge must decide that circumstances have changed before reviewing any financial papers that support the request. Proponents of this process believe the complexity of the child support modification request process is needed to reduce instances of gratuitous, inconsequential and frivolous requests.
A modification in child support historically is granted in cases where a significant and permanent change in the income of a parent has happened. In addition, in cases where the child is suffering, or has suffered from some serious illness, child support may be modified for reasons of healthcare needs and increased medical expenses.
Here in California, a modification is granted where adequate reason for such a modification is provided. The California family court judge has the imperative to decide whether or not the cause is sufficient. For those seeking a modification, understand the rights and obligations is a good first step to presenting the strongest possible case.
Source: South Jersey Times, "Your Legal Corner: Modification of a child support order," June 22, 2014