Can I take my co-parent back to court for more child support?

Although it's still summer, it's not too soon to begin planning for when the kids return to school in September. For some Orange County parents, the beginning of the school year is a time when they have to spend a lot of extra money on the kids.

There are school clothes and supplies that must be bought, school fees (and for some, tuition costs), activity fees and the high costs of sporting and other athletic activities in which the kids may be participating. If your child wants to be in the band, you may also have to buy or rent an instrument.

If you have multiple children, it's enough to make even well-heeled parents' wallets a lot slimmer. You might be wondering if you can return to court for a child support modification.

It's not likely that you will meet the qualifications for amending the child support order based on back-to-school costs. However, it may be possible if certain circumstances warrant it.

The family law courts consider modifications for child support only when there have been substantial changes in the children's needs or when the paying parent's income drastically changes.

What could make you eligible for more child support?

If your child got ill or injured and suddenly had significant health-related costs, it might be possible to take your ex back to court for more support. However, if your kids decided to go out for cheerleading or the football team, that does not entitle you to seek a child support modification.

Some jurisdictions, however, allow periodic cost-of-living modifications to support orders. Typically, the period between these reviews is about three years. If your child is transitioning from elementary school to junior high or from junior high to high school and the transition falls in one of the review years, this may make some difference.

For instance, you and your ex may have agreed that your child will do best in the gifted and talented program at a private high school. Your ex may be ordered by the court to contribute to the tuition expenses as part of a child support modification.

If you are unsure whether to return to court to modify the child support order, your Orange County family law attorney can provide guidance and advice.

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