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How parents can modify their child support payments

When a California couple with minor children gets a divorce, one parent is likely going to be required to pay a certain amount in child support every month. Once the amount of child support is set by the court, the parent must continue to make payments without fail or face consequences. However, a parent who experiences a significant change in circumstances could potentially have the child support order modified.

If circumstances change, a parent cannot simply stop making child support payments. If he or she refuses to pay without a child support modification, severe sanctions could follow, including a wage garnishment and driver's license suspension. In some cases, delinquent parents can face jail time.

There are specific steps a parent should take to get the child support payments lowered. The parent will need to file a child support modification request with the court. A hearing will be scheduled and the other parent will be served. The parent filing the request should ensure that the change in financial circumstances is properly documented. Otherwise, the court may not grant the modification.

The primary caregiver of the children uses the child support payments to help pay for the children's shelter, food, medical expenses, education costs and every day expenses. As such, courts often reject child support modification requests unless the parent responsible for paying child support is experiencing a significant change in his or her ability to comply. An attorney may help the parent provide proof that this inability to pay the child support is temporary due to a loss of work or permanent, such as if the parent becomes disabled.

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