Modifying child support in CA

Parental Alienation, Malicious Mother Syndrome, dealing with the ex, and various other non-legal concerns throughout the process.

Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby BCD2016 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:48 pm

Support Was inputted as min wage for her (even tho she was not working) and 2014 earnings for me.

I’ve made significantly less the last two years and likely to be my new norm since my focus is my time with the kids. Coupled with my increase in parenting time I was thinking about requesting a review after the new year.

Support is based off the original order. Since the original order I received 4% more in a court order and what we are practicing is actually a total of 12% more. I’m estimating I’ll close the year out making 20-25% less than I did in 2014. She is on a new career adventure (she’s had many and none have been successful) so to be safe I should assume she’ll remain at minimum wage.

Do they factor the parenting time based on what is on the court order or what is the de facto parenting?
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby nr552 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:34 pm

Have you documented what you have been practicing re: "parenting time"??? When I mean documented, I mean-- every single day. Child(ren) with mom/dad/both... what you did, what your kid(s) did? If you haven't been documenting, you better start.

Once you have documentation of this-- 6 months? 12 months? That may be enough for a change of circumstances. Before you pull the trigger on that-- once you file, you open the Pandora's box on a complete modification of parenting time/custody, child support, and possible spousal support if you are paying (and it's modifiable).

Weigh in the pros/cons on each one of those items.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby BCD2016 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:18 pm

Yes! I have been keeping a journal for roughly two years now. I've been recording everything from when I am able to talk to the children alongside requests for more time or any interactions I have with them or their mom. I also have emails where she agrees to the additional time alongside a calendar which highlights days I have had them overnight.

Since separation June 2015 through February 2017 had six overnights each month. In February 2017 this was increased by the judge to 10 overnights each month. She moved over this past summer and I started to see additional overnights trickle in but the bulk have been happening once her request to change their schools was denied in August 2017. Now I am much more successful in securing time with them as it minimizes one of the seven round trip commutes she must make to get them to and from school/daycare.

The current order is for the original parenting schedule ( 6 overnights) and even with the modification in Feb 2017, I'm now practicing on average (12 overnights) a month since June 2017.

Spousal Support ends in February 2018 with no renewal or modification.

The court website states a change of circumstance would be a change to the parenting schedule or a increase or decrease to income for either parent. So in the very least there has been a substantial change in the parenting time from the original order. She is likely making more than minimum wage but even if she hasn't, my income has gone down.

You bring up the potential of this evoking change in the parenting time. I may be jumping the gun here but it seems if she wanted to address that topic it would be to my benefit since the parenting time has only increased for me and if anything FCS likes to rubber stamp status quo verses making changes.

Of course it will be she said he said but I think with emails, the calendar, and my journal I can prove I did in fact have the additional time.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby nr552 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:03 pm

Sounds like you have a good chance on getting your "status quo", but you will take a hit on CS once your spousal support ends--- you'll have more disposable income, she will have less, disomaster---> boom you're child support goes up.

Potentially you'll get a support modification based upon parenting time change-- but that can go up or down depending on how FCS mediation goes-- I went 3 times and only the last time did the mediator get a clue and go with what I was requesting (EOW for mom). I was surprised the mediator agreed with what I was requesting, as the mediation went sideways and mom wasn't agreeing to anything (which happened the 2 previous times, none of which got my anywhere). Nothing is a done-deal in Family Court unfortunately.

Sounds like time to go for it. Expect that she will ask for child support to be based on $zero SS coming from you soon, so you may get a reduction now and step up in 2018.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby BCD2016 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:08 am

Wait... Spousal Support is not factored into either of our incomes for child support in CA. She does not input as income nor do I get to deduct it.

I was able to pull up the latest financials from a discovery request in July 2017 and she made roughly 12K between SE and W2 at that point so at the very least she'll be claiming that. Still not min wage but not zero.

Regarding FCS mediation - if I am modifying child support only, unless she insists on addressing child custody, what would result in us going back to FCS mediation to modify support? My evidence would be the same to FCS as it would be for the child support - I am practicing an increased parenting time. Wouldn't that work against her if the documented time is in my favor? How would she argue I now need less time when she was providing me additional time up until I went to modify child support.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby nr552 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:20 pm

If you had a judge run your dissomaster to calculate guideline support,( and you are truly paying "spousal support" and not some other named alimony or separate maintenance, and not child support or an aspect of property settlement, then you are foolish for not deducting that from your taxable income. That's like buying a house and not taking the deduction for mortgage interest & property taxes!) the judge would input the spousal support into the equation.

You can run the numbers here yourself-- When I went through my last round I was with $5 of what the judge pumped out in court.-- https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse ... nv_id=none

"Regarding FCS mediation - if I am modifying child support only, unless she insists on addressing child custody, what would result in us going back to FCS mediation to modify support? My evidence would be the same to FCS as it would be for the child support - I am practicing an increased parenting time. Wouldn't that work against her if the documented time is in my favor? How would she argue I now need less time when she was providing me additional time up until I went to modify child support"

There's that Pandora's box... You are requesting to lower the amount of $$$ you are paying your ex. Once that idea gets wrapped around her head, you're potentially going to experience a whole new animal-- she'll fight it-- and the first way to fight it is to reduce your parenting time, or at least keep it the way it's been. That'll invoke FCS mediation-- and you'll need to have your "A" game on to get FCS mediation to work in your favor...NOTHING is a slam dunk in Family Courty.

"How would she argue I need less time when she was providing me additional time up until I went to modify child support" ??? -- HA-- that providing will stop once she is served. You must prepare for every aspect of what you're opening up by requesting your CS reduction. When your obligation to pay SS stops, you'll have more disposable income-- which equates to more $$ for CS. I was pay $230 a month for CS in a 50/50 parenting time, and $320 a month in SS...

Once I got the SS stopped due to cohabitation, my CS was recalculated, and increased from $230 a month to $350 a month... No income change. Then in a custody modification request (and to make sure SS was terminated perm.) my CS went up to $500 a month (my income went up a lot)... Now I am paying by agreement $750 a month until 4/2018...CS+ arrears (long story, got behind--) which is all paid (CS) and now the remaining $750 a month is "go away at let me raise our S16" money... I have 86% parenting time on paper, 95%+ in practice, and neither of us pays or receives CS for our S16.

I am in CA too.

When they do your calculations, make sure they impute her @ min wage for CA, and in the zip code that she resides or works.

I had mine imputed @ min wage, $9 hour full time (2080hr x $9) $1560 a month when I got a salary increase that led to the $500 a month. I have had 2 raises since then, plus OT... and I had her imputed at the NEW min wage of $10.50, $1820 a month-- plus she was working as a waitress, so the judge tacked on MORE $$$--another $400 a month in tips (which is probably 1/2 of what she was actually receiving) which kept my increase in salary hurting me in CS vs. her income. Once the 86/14% the result from FCS (and she basically agreed to it before the report was received), she actually would owe me about $180 a month in CS if I requested it. My $750 a month stopping next year will go directly to my son (car, car insurance, etc). No need to go after the CS.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby BCD2016 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:10 pm

nr552 wrote:If you had a judge run your dissomaster to calculate guideline support,( and you are truly paying "spousal support" and not some other named alimony or separate maintenance, and not child support or an aspect of property settlement, then you are foolish for not deducting that from your taxable income. That's like buying a house and not taking the deduction for mortgage interest & property taxes!) the judge would input the spousal support into the equation.

The Dissomaster print out and MSA calls out this support as “Spousal Support” The Dissomaster says “blocked” for this input. Thus child support excludes spousal support and only inputs minimum wage for her.

To clarify I do deduct it from my taxable income at year end and she inputs it into hers.


nr552 wrote:You can run the numbers here yourself-- When I went through my last round I was with $5 of what the judge pumped out in court.-- https://www.cse.ca.gov/ChildSupport/cse ... nv_id=none.

Yes, thank you. I’ve ran the numbers utilizing that calculator. I’m looking at a decrease of about $500-700/mo.

nr552 wrote:"Regarding FCS mediation - if I am modifying child support only, unless she insists on addressing child custody, what would result in us going back to FCS mediation to modify support? My evidence would be the same to FCS as it would be for the child support - I am practicing an increased parenting time. Wouldn't that work against her if the documented time is in my favor? How would she argue I now need less time when she was providing me additional time up until I went to modify child support"

There's that Pandora's box... You are requesting to lower the amount of $$$ you are paying your ex. Once that idea gets wrapped around her head, you're potentially going to experience a whole new animal-- she'll fight it-- and the first way to fight it is to reduce your parenting time, or at least keep it the way it's been. That'll invoke FCS mediation-- and you'll need to have your "A" game on to get FCS mediation to work in your favor...NOTHING is a slam dunk in Family Courty..


So she could/would stand before the judge and say that she doesn’t agree with the parenting time I calculated (and can document) and that she insists that the child support order to remain as per the current court order because going forward she will not be allowing me the additional time. The judges hands will then be tied and he’ll request us to go back to FCS to establish if the mediator agrees the court ordered should be modified to accommodate the increased in parenting time I have been practicing or not. Or is the order to attend FCS prior to the standing before the judge?

nr552 wrote:"How would she argue I need less time when she was providing me additional time up until I went to modify child support" ??? -- HA-- that providing will stop once she is served. You must prepare for every aspect of what you're opening up by requesting your CS reduction. When your obligation to pay SS stops, you'll have more disposable income-- which equates to more $$ for CS. I was pay $230 a month for CS in a 50/50 parenting time, and $320 a month in SS...


This contradicts how our current child support order is calculated. The spousal support is already excluded from her ability to support. Only income inputted for her at the time of this order was minimum wage (for 2015 which like for you has increased here in CA). I imagine the spousal support was excluded for instances exactly like this in which the spousal support was only short term (half the length of the marriage).

nr552 wrote:"When they do your calculations, make sure they impute her @ min wage for CA, and in the zip code that she resides or works.


Is it standard to input minimum wage regardless if they are working? She is working minimally as W2 and then as self-employed. So even going by those two inputs alone it wouldn’t be too far off from min wage. Her latest endeavour could exceed min wage but I’m not counting on that. I’m still fine with the decrease even when I input zero for her.

Our order is currently not with DCSS - we have a stay of service for both child support and DCSS. Do I have any benefit of engaging DCSS on this or can I proceed on my own. Do I want to hire a lawyer to represent my work?

From experience is modifying child support something better to leave alone entirely and wait until I have secured equal parenting time with the children?
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby massdad1234 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:17 pm

I would wait to see if you can swing 50/50 before taking action. Yeah, sucks now, but why not use the time to build towards true 50/50?
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby BCD2016 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:30 am

Yes, I am feeling less and less optimistic about modifying support right now. If it was a simple matter of keeping everything the same and adjusting for our incomes, it seems like a no brainer. If I add in increased parenting time even if just the minimal court ordered difference in parenting time, it’s bound to shake things up. We’re less than 10% apart from 50/50... at her mercy.. it would crush me and our children to go back to the court order. It’s not fair but neither is going back to court.
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Re: Modifying child support in CA

Unread postby massdad1234 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:06 am

If spousal support is about to end and non-modifiable, you might meet more resistance then if you were modifying child support first. If you can keep creeping up in time, documented and then file after spousal terminates, you could do it all at once?

You know her best, will she pi k up on you slowly building a case for 50/50?

You are seeing how hard it is to climb the mountain after the fact. What have you learned through this process to better prepare you for the second bite of the apple? The more time you can spend at 50/50, the stronger your case becomes.
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