Your Guide Through Challenging Times

When may a court change a child support order?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2020 | Divorce |

Even after you have secured an order from the court to receive child support from your former spouse, you probably understand that whatever amount you receive will not be set in stone. There are many reasons why you and your ex might have to return to court in the future to ask a judge to modify the agreement.

The California Courts website explains some reasons why a judge may go along with a support change. You might expect some events to come up to change your support order. These events may reflect the natural progression of your family life. Still, an unpleasant surprise or two may cause a high conflict battle over how much support you should receive.

Income changes

A court wants a child to experience the best quality of life possible, so income changes will likely factor into whether a judge alters the support arrangement. A paying spouse with a hefty increase in income may have to pay more in support. Conversely, if the paying spouse has lost his or her job, a judge may lower the support while the paying spouse seeks new employment. Support modifications could also happen if the receiving spouse has income issues as well.

Needs of the child

Your child may have certain needs that require your support amount to be at its current level. A change in the needs of your child could cause a judge to alter that amount. For instance, if your child has sudden health problems, a judge may increase the support level.  The same may happen if your child requires more support for child care or education. On the other hand, as your child grows up and becomes more self sufficient, your former spouse may argue that your child needs less support.


As previously mentioned, some life changes can be unpleasant. For instance, a court may find your ex-spouse guilty of a crime. As a result, your former spouse must serve a prison sentence. Going to jail can dramatically affect the ability of your ex to pay and may result in a reduction of child support.

Other reasons to change support

There are many other reasons why a judge might decide to lower or raise your support. Sometimes a judge reduces support if a child spends much less time with a receiving parent. One or both parents may have additional children or remarry. A court might also grant a change if anything happens to alter the usual calculations for child support.