As a general rule, courts will not revise a child support order unless there has been a “material change of circumstances.” Ordinarily, this requires a significant factual change in circumstances to occur (e.g., an increase or decrease in either parties’ income; loss of employment; change in custodial timeshare percentage.). The simplest method to modify a child support order is for the parents to agree to the modification. However, in order for their agreement to be valid and enforceable by the court, the agreement must be signed by the parties and filed with the court as a stipulated order. Informal agreements to modify a child support order that are not formalized into a court order will not be recognized by the court and the initial order will remain as the child support order! Another method of modifying child support is to file a motion or order to show cause with the court requesting that the current support order be modified. At the modification hearing, the party requesting the change in child support has the burden of showing the court what circumstances have changed since the initial order was issued to warrant a modification of the child support order.
The Law Offices of Burch & Coulston LLP service clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County and Southern California. Three of our attorneys are certified by the State Bar of California as Family Law Specialists.