When California parents of minor children get divorced, it is likely that one of them will be responsible for paying child support. The child support order is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the parents’ income and the child’s unique needs. However, life events can cause a parent’s ability to pay the ordered amount of child support to change.
If a parent finds that he or she can no longer pay the amount of child support that was initially ordered, a child support modification must be requested. Until a child support modification is accepted by the court, the parent is still responsible for paying the amount that has been ordered. As such, those who lose their job or have other life events affect the amount they can pay should act quickly.
In some cases, the other parent may agree to lowered child support payments. This can save money and allow both parents to maintain some form of control over the child support payments. Otherwise, litigation may be required. If this is the case, parents who have a change in circumstances should document those changes while trying to continue to make the payments to the best of their abilities.
When a parent has an unexpected change in circumstances, such as an illness or job loss, it can be easy to fall behind. However, failing to pay child support on time can result in serious consequences, especially if the parent does not even attempt to pay some of what is owed. A family law attorney can be of assistance during the modification hearing.