Child support is always modifiable. There are two ways the court could modify a child support order. Modification of child support can take place after a judgment has been entered or at any time after the initial order has been made.
Once you have either a judgment for dissolution of marriage/legal separation or paternity judgment, you may file to request to modify that order if there is a change in circumstances involving at least one parent’s income or a change in their custodial arrangement. Whether you are eligible for changing the child support order depends on the actions of both parents. The person required to pay support or the parent to whom support was ordered to be paid (or that party’s assignee), can serve a request on the other party for a completed current income and expense declaration in the form adopted by the Judicial Council (FI-396: Request for an Income & Expense Declaration After Judgement). It must be sent by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the parent to be served, or by personal service.
If the parent served doesn’t respond within 35 days of service of the request, or if the form is missing any wage information, the other parent may serve a request on the employer of the paying parent. The employer may require the employee to pay the reasonable costs of copying this information for the requesting parent. The parent then has another 15 days to produce the information. However, if the recipient does not provide all of the documents as set forth above or does not respond at all, a request can be made directly from the employer using form Fl-397 (Request for Income and Benefits Information from Employer).
The parent being served through his or her place of employment will get a copy of the request, which will have an additional notice that indicates:
A copy of the Fl-397: Request for Income and Benefits Information from Employer must also be served on the employee once received by the employer and the employee has the opportunity to object to the demand and state the reasons why they are objecting to such a request. As long as the employees’ income is at issue, the court will likely not uphold the objection. Additionally, the employee can bring a motion pursuant to Section 1987.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure to suppress or modify this request. The parent must inform the employer prior to the date specified in the request served on the employer.
Child support can be modified after a pre-judgment hearing or order that has been made based on a change in circumstance. You may serve a Demand for Production of Documents &/or Request for Form Interrogatories to find out what the other parent is making. In addition, if you experience a change in income or even a job loss, you may immediately file a Request for Orders to modify child support regardless of what the other parent is making. Please keep in mind that you need the requisite documentation to show the court as the basis for a change and you cannot modify the order based on statements made by the child or a 3rd party. In addition, without the requisite documents, you cannot confirm that there has actually been a changed at is possible that the adverse effect of an increase in child support may be the end result for your matter.
Like most matters regarding the care of children post-divorce, modifications to child support can be complicated. Talk to our experienced Covina divorce attorney about what the forms and deadlines you need to know about. If you need assistance, we are more than happy to help. You will need legal representation if you can’t agree on a modified amount with your ex, so let us assist you with negotiation or represent you in court.
Contact us at (626) 788-9864 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation.