How and why would I apply for a child support modification?

Child support is an important part of being a single parent with primary custody in California. However, even when you are receiving the full amount of child support the court ordered during your divorce, you might still have difficulty making ends meet. Is it possible to get my child support increased, you may wonder?

There are many reasons to apply for a child support modification. Maybe your ex wasn’t employed at the time of the divorce and now has a full-time job. Maybe he or she reported a false income to the judge or had a significant pay raise. Perhaps your own situation has changed dramatically, such as losing your job or having an unexpected medical emergency. These are all valid reasons to need an increase in child support.

However, as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains, there are rules and limitations to applying for a child support modification. The following points can clarify:

  • It usually must be three years or longer after the last child support order or modification.
  • Your youngest child must not be within six months of turning 18.
  • Your ex should not be incarcerated or institutionalized.

To apply for a child support modification, you would need to contact your case worker or the family law court. When either you or your ex requests a change in an existing child support order, the court will consider it on an individual basis. Therefore, this information is meant to educate you, but since child support is a complex topic, it should not serve to replace the advice of a lawyer.