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Reduce child support obligation?

In California, child support orders may be modified at any time before termination of the payer’s duty to pay support. Thus, you can ask the court to reduce your child support obligation. Mostly to reduce your child support you must show that there is a decreased need for child support or you are unable to pay child support. However, if you do not follow the steps to reduce your child support obligation the other parent may collect on your unpaid child support years later.

Change of circumstances

To order to reduce the amount you need to pay you must prove to the court that there is a material change in circumstances that warrant a reduction. Material change means a significant change.

What is considered a material change in circumstances

Example of a material change in circumstances is the payor’s inability to pay child support. Another example is the child’s decrease need for child support. Remember as the party requesting the change you will have the burden to prove that you are unable to pay child support.

What if the other parent agrees to the reduction of child support

Because child support payments are for the child, parties cannot agree to reduce child support on their own. The court must approve any agreement between the parties to change child support. Otherwise, your obligation to pay support will not be waived. This means years down the road even if the other parent has not collected support, he or she can decide to collect on your unpaid child support obligations.

Conclusion

The family court can modify child support orders. However, modification to be valid the court must agree to the change. Outside of a court agreement even if signed by both parties will not waive your obligation to pay. Thus, it is important to go to court and follow the steps to reduce child support obligation.

Court forms you may need to complete

  1. FL-300 | Request for order
  2. FL-150 | Income and expense declaration

Courts website: https://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm