When can you seek to raise or lower child support after a divorce? California family law establishes a specific formula known as the guideline calculation of child support. Generally speaking, guideline child support is based upon several factors but primarily the income of each parent and the amount of time the child will spend with each party after the divorce. While our Carlsbad divorce courts may ultimately accept or order a variance in this formulation, the first amount the court will want to see relating to child support is the guideline result of this calculation.
Once child support is ordered our courts will usually require a change in the “status quo” in order to consider a request to raise or lower child support after a divorce. A valid change in the status quo requires a significant change in one or both of the former spouse’s incomes or situations. For example, a change in the status quo would occur if one of the parties lost their job or experienced a significant raise or reduction in their pay. Additional reasons can include changes in a child’s education, health care or day care or significant change in the amount of time one parent is spending with the child. Other examples could include imprisonment, significant health issues of a wage earner or welcoming a child from another relationship,
The only exception to the need for a change in the status quo occurs when the judge initially orders an amount which is lower than the guideline support calculation. In these cases the court will almost always consider a request to change the amount of child support.
If the parties are in agree to raise or lower child support after a divorce it must be properly documented and submitted to the court for a judge’s approval. If the parties cannot agree upon a change in child support a more formal request for child support modification must be presented to the court.
If you are considering child support modifications or have a disagreement with your former spouse concerning the amount of support we invite you to contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment.