Modifying Child Support

How Do I Modify a Child Support Order in California?

Westlake Village Child Support Lawyer: Modifications

The formula for calculating the amount of child support in California is fairly complicated. To facilitate the calculation, the Department of Child Services provides a calculator guide which is used to help determine a fair support amount that is adequate to meet the needs of the children, measured against the income of each parent. When requesting a child support modification previously issued by the court, you will be required to show that there has been a material change in circumstances to support your request for the modification of child support. The Westlake Village child support lawyer from our firm, Richard Ross Associates, can help you navigate this process so that the judge will clearly see your position, and make it far more likely that he or she will agree to modify a child support order.

Attorney Serving Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village

The judge is not strictly bound by these calculations, however, and has the final authority to set the amount. The skills and ability to present your case persuasively are extremely important to the outcome of a request to modify a child support order. You will need an experienced child support attorney to help you clearly state your case, and present the issue professionally so that you have a better chance of success.

This modification can be created on a voluntary basis (called a stipulated agreement) if both parents agree. It is advised that you have help from our family law attorney to assist you in seeking an approval for a modification of a child support order in Family Court. The original order will stand in any dispute if the new agreement is not approved and issued by the court.

There are many circumstances that could require a modification, including change in employment, changing needs of the child or children, such as education, an illness or other situation. Reduced income, a remarriage and the birth of a child are all circumstances that could impact child support payments.

It is often the case that the parents may not agree on to a modification and it is vital that you retain the services of an attorney that knows how to get results in child support modifications. Contact us today so that we can help you move forward with your request to the court.


  • I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.

    “I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”

  • Our family and our dignity have been restored.

    “Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”

  • The results far exceeded my expectations.

    “The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”

  • Extremely thorough and professional!

    “Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”

  • Polite, caring, and quick to respond.

    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.