Circumstances oftentimes change after a court enters an initial child support order, and an ex-spouse may get to a point where he or she can’t afford child support payments any longer. These changes usually involve a job loss, career switch, or other unforeseen circumstance. In those instances, a standing child support order may need to be modified. If you can’t afford child support, an experienced California family law attorney may be able to take the necessary legal steps to assist you with obtaining a child support modification.
When an ex-spouse can’t afford child support payments, he or she may be inclined to go it alone and attempt self-representation. It is important to realize, however, that child support modifications may involve extremely complex legal proceedings, and correct paper filings and effective testimony at child support hearings are extremely important for obtaining a support modification.
You should also consider that in the long run, a California family law attorney may be able to save you thousands of dollars in support payments over the course of many years.
In order for a court to take action on a child support modification petition, both of the following must occur:
- A Motion to Modify Child Support must be properly filed with the court.
- The motion must be properly served upon the ex-spouse.
It is important to understand that until a Motion for Modification of Child Support is properly filed with the Court, properly served upon the recipient spouse, and granted by a judge, the initial child support order is still in effect — regardless of any change in the payor spouse’s financial circumstances. Consequently, if the payor spouse can’t afford child support and fails to pay the full child support amount (or fails to pay any child support whatsoever), a judge could hold the payor spouse in contempt of court.
The recipient spouse could also file a Motion for Modification if the payor spouse’s income unexpectedly increases and he or she becomes financially able to pay more money in child support.
Child Support Modification Hearings
Prior to making a decision on a Motion to Modify Child Support, the Court will set a modification hearing date. At that time, the ex-spouses can present evidence favoring their respective positions. An experienced California family attorney will be able to assist you with gathering and presenting favorable evidence at your child support modification hearing. Your attorney will also be able to cross-examine opposing witnesses (including the ex-spouse), in order to expose holes or inconsistencies in that party’s version of the case. Following a child support modification hearing, a judge may enter an order which modifies any pre-existing child support order and sets a new child support amount.
If You Can’t Afford Child Support, Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer Today
Child support modification proceedings can be complex and time consuming. You need experienced legal representation when you can’t afford child support payments. The family law attorneys at Family Law Matters have the legal knowledge and experience to assist you with requesting a child support modification. Our experienced attorneys can also represent you in court at a child support modification hearing. If you can’t afford child support, contact the experienced attorneys at Family Law Matters at 951-587-0505.