Child support is a legal obligation for one parent to the child, however, there may be instances where one parent cannot or does not want to continue to pay the support. There are many reasons why a child support order might be in need of a change such as the the parent’s income changing, one parent losing his or her job, one parent being incarcerated, one parent had another child in another relationship or things of that sort.
In order for the court to approve a change, you have to show that there has been a “change in circumstances” since the last child support order was made. It’s best to contact an experienced Santa Barbara family law lawyer who can help you specifically with your case.
If one parent simply chooses to not pay, the state of California does not take that lightly. It is extremely important that if anyone anticipates a change in circumstances, they notify the family court immediately so the child support can be modified and you won’t fall behind on the payments. Courts will not retroactively change the amount of support that was owed.
If parents can reach an agreement on a new amount of child support, they can write it up as a stipulation and give it to the judge for a signature. But if the parents cannot agree on the change, they must file a motion with the court.
Child support payments are automatically suspended when the parent who has to pay child support is in jail, prison or is institutionalized against his or her will for more than 90 days. Once the person is released from jail or the institution, child support payments start again at the amount they were before they were suspended.
If you need to change the amount because you are not working or cannot afford the same payments you were making before going to jail or being institutionalized, you have to ask the court to change your payment. Child support and the factors that go into it can get pretty tricky. It’s always best to consult with an experienced family law attorney.