2013: San Diego Procedures for Modification of Child Support
Child support is an amount determined by a court order and decreed by it, which a parent is required to pay to meet part of the expenses arising out of the upkeep of a child, more particularly for boarding, feeding, clothing, education, medical expenses, and so forth under the guidelines in San Diego County. The Court expects that children should be supported by both parents. The San Diego Judge also expects that both parents share the onus of supporting their children after they have divorced. However laws differ significantly from state to state and also in the manner in which they are regulated. If you are seeking to modify your child support obligation in San Diego, a San Diego family lawyer would be best placed to represent you.Life Altering Events
Situations do arise as time goes by which alter your financial status, and earlier agreed child support or support mandated by the court might no longer prove feasible or be appropriate. Examples of these life-changing events are serious injury, change in household income or marital status, loss of a job or children from another relationship all of which may warrant a change in the child support agreement through a child support modification. To reduce child support payments or to increase them requires the consent of the parents, or a judicial order approving the change. Here are some pointers to help you through the child support modification process and it is crucial to correctly analyze since you do not want to file a motion to modify the child support downward only to have the child support increased!
- Speedy action: Act as soon as you are aware that your circumstances are going to change and you will not be able to meet your child support obligations. If you are in arrears of child support because you cannot meet your current payments the amount is still owed. These arrears are not eligible for a bankruptcy discharge and are not reduced in retrospect. As such, if you need a modification of a current child support order, it is essential to file for the modification immediately to preserve the opportunity to ask for a modification which is retroactive to the date of filing. This is in the Judge’s discretion but, in San Diego Court’s, it is common for any modification to go back to the date of filing.
- Keep yourself informed: Study the child support laws in San Diego to know what change in your circumstances is significant enough to warrant a modification of child support. If you are in doubt consult a family law attorney in San Diego
- Try to negotiate an agreement with the other parent: See if you can explain your changed circumstances and get the other parent to agree to a modification. More often than not this will prove difficult in which case you could always resort to mediation for a solution. Litigating the matter is always a deterrent because of the financial cost involved. If you can agree to a change, make sure that this is reduced to writing in the form of a “stipulation” and filed with the San Diego Court in which your case is located. Oral agreements to reduce child support are not enforceable and can result in large past due amounts [arrear] so be very careful.
- Continue making your committed child support payments to the best of your ability. Do your very best to meet your current child support commitments because these remain in force unless otherwise ordered by a court and must be complied with. Try to adhere as far as possible to the terms of the child support order. If you are unable to demonstrate that you have made every effort, it might dent your argument of altered circumstances which justify a change. Meanwhile your unpaid child support will continue to pile up.
If you are seeking modification of child support in the San Diego area, the family law firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC can be of significant assistance. This firm practices in all matters relating to family law which include child custody and support. It offers a free initial 30-minute consultation for a case evaluation.