Changing or Ending Child Support

Changing Child Support

Depending on the situation, either parent might want to change the amount of child support that is paid.  Changes in child support often make sense if either parent has had a significant change related to:

  • His or her income,
  • The other parent’s income, or
  • The amount of time that each parent spends with the child.

Once you ask the court to modify the amount of child support, the court will make its decision based on the current circumstances (mainly both parents’ income and time-share with the child).   This means that the child support amount could go either up or down.   If you are not sure whether the change in circumstances will result in an increase or a decrease, you can ask the family law facilitator in your county to help calculate the estimates for you before you file papers to go to court.

IMPORTANT! If you are the parent paying child support, you will still owe the full  amount of support in your current court order until you get the order changed –  even if your situation has changed.  So, for example, if you lose your job today  but you do not change your child support order until 3 months from now, you will still owe child support from today until 3 months from now, even though you were not working.  Also, if you owe that amount but are unable to pay it, you will  owe interest (at the rate of 10 percent per year) on any unpaid balance.

Ending Child Support

Usually, court-ordered child support ends when the child turns 18 years old if he or she graduates from high school. If your 18-year-old child is still a full-time high school student and still lives with a parent, child support ends when your child graduates or turns 19, whichever occurs first.

Child support also ends when the child:

  • Marries or registers a domestic partnership,
  • Joins the military,
  • Is emancipated,  or
  • Dies.

Parents may agree to support a child longer. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child that cannot support himself or herself.

from California Courts

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