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How to lower child support in California

Unfortunately, just because your divorce is final does not mean the battles between you and your ex-wife are over. One aspect you may continue to disagree on is child support. She may want you to pay more, while you may want to pay less.

The good news is that under certain circumstances it is possible for you to lower your child support obligation so that it is both affordable for you and fair to your child. Increase the chance that you can modify your child support order by utilizing the help of a family law attorney.

Special circumstances

You can only pursue a modification if you have experienced a relevant change in your financial or life circumstances. Examples of such changes include:

  • Decreased wages or work hours
  • Job loss
  • Higher cost of living
  • Health problems
  • Birth of another biological child
  • Military reassignment
  • Imprisonment

If your custody arrangements have changed so that your child spends more time with you, you also qualify for a lower payment, especially if the expenses for caring for your child have increased.

Modification process

If your ex-wife is willing to cooperate, you can agree on a new child support order out of court and have a judge review and enforce it. It is likelier that she is not willing to cooperate, in which case you need a lawyer’s assistance in seeking a child support modification. An attorney can help you fill out all the necessary paperwork properly, provide evidence of the change in circumstances and file the documents with the court. You will receive a hearing date, where the judge will make the final decision.

In the meantime, continue paying according to your current order to avoid the penalties of not providing child support. Putting effort into altering your budget and/or seeking a better job are also helpful actions. Even partial payments help your cause, as it shows that you are trying to fulfill your legal obligations as best you can under your financial hardship.

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