Children grow and associated expenses increase. Have you been wondering “How do I get an increase in child support in North County San Diego to offset new expenses?”
Child support modification is based upon a change in the “status quo” toward the end of your initial divorce case.
California has established a child support guideline calculator. The Judge used this and the lifestyle you enjoyed as a family prior to the divorce to establish the base status quo. This standard and the incomes of you and your former spouse formed the basis for determining the child support orders issued in your case. In order to get an increase in child support you are going to have to show the court there has been a substantial change in the status quo since the end or your divorce.
What constitutes a significant change in the status quo? Generally speaking, income of they payor must have increased by more than 10% for the court to consider a modification to the original child support orders. What are examples of which could qualify as a change in the status quo? You could get an increase in child support when the payor’s income increases, such as:
- Change in Job or Significant Raise – if the payor receives a promotion or gets a new job earning more money a child support modification may be in order
- Inheritance – while lump sum inheritances are generally not considered for child support, the interest or dividends generated or rental income from inherited real estate may be considered as income for child support. The Judge has the option to impute income for child support based upon interest upon that inheritance if it had been properly invested (Kern v Castle, supra)
- Addition of a car allowance, expense account, stock options or ESOPs, company credit card, rent-free housing (Marriage of Schulze, supra) and other qualifying employment benefits
- Increased commission earnings over a period of time
- Increase in business income from a privately owned business or professional practice
There are things which the court will probably not consider. It may surprise you to learn lottery winnings are generally exempt from child support calculations except in cases where the child receives public assistance (Contra Costa v Lemon, Marriage of Scheppers).
If the payor remarries the income of the new spouse may not be used for child support calculations except in extreme cases of severe hardship to the child (Marriage of Wood 1995, Knowles (2009).
A word of caution: in your attempt to get an increase in child support there is also a bit of risk. The Judge has the ability to impute income to either party based upon the parent’s earning capacity instead of their actual income (Marriage of Destein 2001, Cheriton 2001, Mendoza v Ramos 2010).When the court considers earning capacity instead of actual income, it is only the actual earned income which is replaced by earning capacity. However, the Judge may consider both earning capacity and actual unearned income (disability benefits, royalties, trust income) and add the two together (Stewart v Gomez).
Are you looking to get an increase in child support in North County San Diego? The Carlsbad Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq provide sound insight and counsel regarding the modification of spousal support. We invite you to contact us or call 760-389-3927 to learn more or schedule an appointment.