When Can Child Support or Spousal Support Be Modified?

As families grow and change over time, certain legal obligations must sometimes be modified to reflect those changes. When a couple goes through a divorce or separation, the fallout can sometimes result in court-ordered child support or spousal support. These payments are meant to make daily life expenses bearable for everyone in the family and can be very helpful and necessary in certain situations. However, as families change, those payments should sometimes be altered in order to fairly reflect the new dynamics of the family.

While it is possible to modify your child or spousal support payments, there are certain qualifications that must be met. In the state of California, there must be a substantial change of circumstances in order to warrant a support increase, decrease, or elimination. Courts establish child and spousal support in order to maintain a healthy, supportive lifestyle for each individual in a divorce and the children of divorce and separation. If the individual seeking a modification can prove that the need for support is no longer applicable, or the payee is no longer able to pay, the court may approve a modification.

The following factors are the most common changes that may provide a basis for child support modification:

  • A substantial change to either parent’s income
  • A change in the child’s medical needs
  • The development of a serious illness or disability in the paying parent
  • A change in the child’s residence
  • Either parent has had more children
  • Child custody has altered

Spousal support may be modified for any of the following reasons:

  • A substantial change to either person’s income
  • Either spouse is terminated
  • The person receiving payments remarries or lives with a partner
  • A change in either individual’s medical needs (such as the development of a disability or serious illness)

Child and spousal support orders are each a little different in purpose. While child support is meant to support the health and happiness of the child for as long as he or she needs it (or becomes an adult), spousal support is meant to come to an end as soon as the receiving spouse is self-sufficient. Courts try to see that both parents care for their children’s financial responsibility equally, whereas the income of ex-spouses need not be equal.

If you believe you have cause to seek a modification to your child support or spousal support order, our firm may be able to help.

Contact Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. to request a consultation with our Los Angeles attorneys.

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