Child support is often a long commitment, usually lasting until your child turns 18 or stops attending high school full time. However, child support is calculated off of a standard formula as set forth by the State of California. It is based mainly off of parental income and residential time, although these both fluctuate throughout the course of a child’s upbringing.

Significant changes in income or residential time may warrant a recalculation of the original support ordered. Unexpected expenses not accounted for when the support order was finalized, such as extensive uninsured medical costs, also may warrant the award be modified for the benefit of the child.

Child support needs to be modified formally in court to be enforceable. You may reach an agreement over the modification with the other parent due to a change in circumstances, but until the modification is done through the court, it isn’t official. Formalizing the modification is in the best interest of the child as that makes the support they are in need of enforceable and recognized. To modify a child support order with the court, and if you have reached an agreement with the other parent regarding the modification, you can submit a Stipulation to Establish or Modify a Child Support and Order.

If you are not in agreement over the modification, file a Request for Order to modify the child support amount. In filing a Request for Order, you and the other parent will have to appear at a hearing where the modification will either be granted or adjustments will be made, according to the judge. Reaching agreement over a modified child support amount can be difficult; seek the services of a family law attorney with experience in modifying child support orders. Your local child support services agency can also help you in obtaining a modification and/or enforcing an existing order.

Once granted by a judge, the modification will be in effect and the new payment amount is enforceable. Until you go through one of these processes, the existing order will be in effect and if you are unable to meet those payments, you will owe child support arrearage (i.e. back child support), which accrues interest at a rate of 10%.

Are you in Los Angeles County and have questions about a child support order? Attorney Mark H. Karney, a Certified Family Law Specialist, has expertise in post-judgment modifications and can represent you and your best interests in court. Serving Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and surrounding areas, Mark H. Karney can efficiently handle your complex divorce and ensure you walk away with the best possible case outcome. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.