If you've been ordered to pay child support and you've been paying your child support, but then something happens and you lose your job or you get a demotion or you are making less money than you were when the order was made, what do you do? Obviously you don't have enough money to keep making the support payments, and equally obviously the person receiving the support payment still wants to keep getting it. So if you have a child support order and you've lost your job whether you live in Los Angeles County or Ventura County or anywhere in the state of California, if that has happened to you, can you do anything about it? The answer is yes. You go to court and you ask the court to modify your child support order; it's called a Child Support Modification Request. And you literally go into the court, explain to the judge what happened, "this is what I was making then; this is what I'm making now; will you please recalculate the support so that I am paying an appropriate amount of support with regard to whether I am getting unemployment or whatever my economic situation is." In fact, depending upon the economic situation of the person you're paying the support to, if you lose your job they might have to pay you support. So the key here is you have to act quickly. A lot of people will lose their job, they will just stop paying, and then three, four, five, six months later they finally decide I have to do something because my ex is hounding me, and then they go into court to ask that the amount be modified, and the problem is that for all those months that you haven't done anything, it's just racking up what you owe. So if you're laid off, or if you suffer some kind of interruption to your cash flow, you need to get yourself in front of an accomplished, experienced child support attorney who can help you get into court, ask for the request, and then when your hearing is held one, two, or three months later, you can ask the court to make the new order retroactive back to when you originally filed your request. And that will give you the most relief that you can possibly get. And when we're talking about a child support modification in California, you are always entitled to have an award of guideline child support. In other words, it's always modifiable based on the circumstances that are happening at any given moment.
When someone comes in and they ask about a child support modification, one of the first questions they ask is "do I have to keep making this payment that I can no longer afford to make?" And the answer is well if you can't afford to make it, you're not going to be able to make the payment no matter what. But here's what you need to do: you need to pay what you can while your request is pending. And the reason you do that is because you are demonstrating to the court that you're acting in good faith, "Your Honor, I am doing what I can, I just don't have the financial wherewithal to pay that original amount." So pay what you can while your request is pending, and ideally once the judge rules on your request and modifies your support down, that will be retroactive and you will receive credit for all of the payments that you have made.