HomeChild SupportHow to Modify the Child Support Payment on Your Final Judgment
Posted in Child Support on 14th August 2011

How to Modify the Child Support Payment on Your Final Judgment

A majority of spouses who are involved in the last stages of their California uncontested divorce tend to believe that their final judgment for divorce is set in stone once the Judge has signed his approval on said form, and therefore cannot be changed.

Yet, this is not the case. After the divorce, a spouse may request a change in the language on the final judgment.

The most common reason to request a change is due to the paying spouse experiencing financial hardship, leading to his or her inability to pay the receiving spouse the formerly agreed-upon child support amount signed to in the parties’ original Judgment.

Whether or not the judge actually agrees to the request for a lower child support payment is based on the paying spouse’s ability to first prove one of the following to the Court:

-a recent change in employment to a job where the paying spouse receives lower wages than before (which can be shown with pay stubs that reference the difference in income between one job and the next);

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-a change in working status where the paying spouse suddenly finds himself or herself unemployed, and lowering the child support payment becomes necessary;

-evidence of a change in residency from a more upscale neighborhood to a less expensive one due to the financial hardship;

-a possible recent disability that keeps the paying spouse from working and earning income to his or her full capacity;

-or any other document that will help show the Court why a child support modification should be granted.

After considering all these factors the judge then has the discretion to determine whether a child support modification form shall be filed by the spouses to adjust the support payment.

It should be noted, however, that the California child support guideline amount must be enforced by the Judge -which is a number based on each spouse’s income and expense information, disclosed to the court through their individual Income And Expense form.

Consequently there is an exception to the guideline enforcement rule, which allows the parties to bypass the state-imposed child support amount. To do this, the parents must sign their Marital Settlement document with the agreement of how much child support is to be paid to the receiving spouse; as well as the detailed circumstances under which the amount may be increased or decreased.

Unfortunately, only 17% of all child support recipients actually receive their support payments in a timely fashion.

To ensure that child support payments will therefore be made by the due date, a Wage Assignment must be filled out and filed with the paying spouse’s employer; this document instructs the employer to deduct the proper amount of support from the paying spouse’s wages and then send the funds directly to the receiving spouse.

On the other hand, theWage Assignment will never have to be filed with the court if the paying spouse is consistently on time with support payments.

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