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January 15, 2021

The divorce was hard, but you are trying to be a good parent. In most instances, courts grant shared custody as part of divorce settlements. There is a custodial and a non-custodial parent. If you are the non-custodial parent, then you must agree to all big decisions concerning your child. You must also pay child support. Though the one is not contingent upon the other, the state of California is strict about child support payments. You do not want to find yourself on the wrong side of an enforcement order. 

However, circumstances change. Your life may take a turn for the worst, and you can do very little about it. If you lost your old job and got a new one that pays less money, then you may need to petition the court to change the child support order. This will not happen automatically. You should be warned, however, that if you have taken a lower-paying job with the express purpose of paying less in child support, the court will find out about it and your request for the modification order will be denied. You should also know that if you transition to a new job that pays more or received a promotion that pays more, the custodial parent can also seek a modification for additional child support. 

The court will review and assess a range of facts before deciding on a modification request. The thing they have to decide is whether the new job and pay can be considered a “substantial change in circumstances”. 

Modifying a Support Order 

You may put in for a temporary or permanent modification. Your ex can do the same. They may request a temporary increase in child support to cover the emergent medical needs of the child or to make up for a temporary shortage of funds to the custodial parent’s household. However, these are the most common reasons for a child support modification order: 

  • Increased cost of living 
  • Incarceration of either parent 
  • Unemployment of either parent 
  • Remarriage of either parent that brings a substantial increase in income 
  • One of the parents becomes disabled 

If you want to submit a child support modification request, then you should first contact a Pleasanton CA family law attorney. If your new job pays less and you need relief, then you should act quickly. Child support modification orders are not retroactive. You will continue to pay the amount of the original order until the modification request has been approved. Even if you have made a verbal agreement with your ex to pay less, this will not have the force of law until it is approved by a judge. 

Modification requests are handled by state courts. To make a request, you must file a motion with the court that issued the original order. If you have reached an informal agreement with the other parent, this must be put into writing and signed by a judge. The sooner you get a Pleasanton CA divorce attorney involved the better. Your Pleasanton CA divorce attorney will give you the guidance and insight you need to make a solid request. 

Most earnest and fact-based requests are approved, but only until you have found a better paying job. The judge will most likely require you to seek employment that will enable you to pay the original amount. Failure to do so may result in the revocation of the modification. 

Dealing with these matters can be tricky. That is why you should keep a child support attorney Pleasanton CA by your side throughout the process. A Pleasanton CA child support attorney can provide you with the counsel you require. 

If you have brought in the new year with a new and lower-paying job, then you should speak to a divorce attorney in Pleasanton CA at the Tierney Law Group.