From The Blog

Modifying California Child Support

Whether you are the recipient or the one who pays California child support, if you want the amount of support changed, you will need to have the...

Whether you are the recipient or the one who pays California child support, if you want the amount of support changed, you will need to have the existing court order for support modified. This can be done by an agreement called a stipulation, or by making a motion in court to modify the existing support order.

California Family Law Form FL-350 (Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order), along with instructions on how to fill it out, are included in attorney Ed Sherman's book, How to Do Your Own Divorce in California. It's not difficult to do when you have the instructions.

However, if you go the other route and make a motion in court to modify a support order, hopefully you will get a fair judge, unlike what happened to James Lockington when he appealed to the Orange County Superior Court. After losing 99% of his monthly income, and his home to a short sale in order to avoid foreclosure, Lockington had to incur huge credit card debt and move in with his sister to survive.

Yet when Lockington, with only $300 in monthly income, appealed to Judge Ronald Kreber to modify his support order which was $2074, the judge refused, even though ex-wife Tricia enjoyed a monthly income of $7500 per month. When the judge told Lockington to get a job at Starbuck's (as if that would cover $2074 in child support plus his own living expenses) Lockington filed an appeal.

Fortuantely, he found justice in the California Court of Appeal, when Justice Richard Aronson wrote, "A trial court must evaluate a request to modify child support based on the parent's current financial circumstances, not the financial circumstances that existed during the marriage. The court cannot require James to pay an amount in child support he clearly has no ability to pay."

You can read the entire bizarre story about James Lockington's attempt to modify his support payments at the OC Weekly blog.

For more information on this topic in general, visit California Child Support and see how the law may affect you as a divorced or divorcing parent.