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Does Relocation Affect Child Support Obligations in California?

There are many reasons a parent may need to relocate. After divorce, this relocation can be a fraught process, especially if you are concerned with how the move will impact your existing court orders, not to mention your ability to stay meaningfully connected to your child.

Whether the paying parent moves away or the child relocates with the custodial parent, we encourage both parents to seek guidance to fully understand how these changes affect their financial responsibilities.

In this blog post, we’ll explore various scenarios, identify common grounds for child support modifications, and discuss how you can advocate for yourself in court.

Potential Impacts of a Move

Relocation can create new dynamics in co-parenting, and these changes often necessitate a reassessment of child support obligations. For example, If the paying parent moves further from the child’s residence, this can affect visitation schedules and may result in increased expenses for one or both parents. The court might consider these added expenses when determining if a modification to child support is necessary.

Similarly, when the child relocates with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent could face increased travel costs for visitation. This situation may also influence the amount of child support the court deems appropriate depending on the new living arrangements and cost-of-living differences.

Modifying Child Support in California

Though they are meant to serve families long-term, child support orders are not set in stone. In California, either parent can request a modification if a significant, lasting change in circumstances occurs. We encourage parents considering a relocation or who think they may have grounds for a modification to speak with a qualified attorney (like ours at The Law Office of David A. Martin & Associates) to learn more about the process.

When modification may be appropriate:

  • Significant increase or decrease in either parent’s income
  • Major changes in custody or visitation schedules that significantly affect their financial needs
  • Increased needs of the child (e.g., medical expenses, educational costs) or a shift in parental financial responsibilities due to the relocation of one or both parents

When modification may not be appropriate:

  • Temporary changes in either parent's financial situation (e.g., short-term job loss, temporary reduction in income)
  • Minor fluctuations in the child's needs or expenses that do not significantly impact their overall financial requirements
  • Alterations in custody or visitation schedules that do not substantially change the time the child spends with each parent

Advocating for Yourself in Child Support Changes

Relocation issues can be contentious, especially when they impact existing court orders. In these scenarios, advocating for yourself and your family can be challenging, and the judicial process intimidating. This is where an attorney like ours can help.

Our attorneys can help you:

  • Understand your rights and obligations as a parent
  • Gather supporting evidence for or against a proposed modification
  • Present your perspective to the court

If you believe an upcoming move will impact your child support order, reach out to our law firm for guidance. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you explore your options as you seek the best path forward for you and your family.

Fill out our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation.