Emergency Rule 13 | Child Support Modification | CA Law


You Can Request a Retroactive Child Support Modification Before Filing with the Court

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, How to Obtain a COVID-19 Child Support Modification, if you are paying child support to your ex-partner or ex-spouse and you have lost your job or your work hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, you can ask the Court for a child support modification to lower your payments. What is new is that you can request a child support modification effective the date your ex-spouse or ex-partner receives your request in writing, even if you have not yet filed papers with the Court.

Here is how to request a retroactive child support modification

Working with your family law attorney, you will draw up a child support modification request in writing. That request is served to your ex-spouse or partner by U.S. mail or other valid means. The Court still needs to receive, review and approve your request before it becomes valid. If your request is approved, your child support modification adjustment will be retroactive to when your ex was served.

Why was this change needed?

Under current federal and state law, individuals must file a request with the Court asking for a modification of child support payments. If the request is approved, their payments are altered as of the Court’s approval date. Due the COVID-19 pandemic, however, court operations have changed in order to protect the health and safety of the public and the Court, and it has become less clear how to file a modification request. This lack of clarity has resulted in a delay of many child support modification filings. Some individuals have not been able to file a request at all.

To address this problem, the California Judicial Council, the policy-making body of the California courts, has adopted what us called Emergency Rule 13. This rule allows a Court to modify child, spousal, partner, or family support payments effective on the date that the request is served without being filed with the Court first. This change enables an individual to modify their payments effective as close as possible to the date of their loss of income.

I can help with your child support modification

Without needing to meet in person, I can draw up a child support modification for you. If you and your ex-spouse or partner can reach an agreement on the new amount you will pay, I will write a stipulation and present it to the Court, so that it becomes your new child support order.

If you believe that you and your ex-spouse or partner will not be able to agree on a reduced child support amount, I will serve it to your ex via U.S. mail and also file a motion with the Court asking for a modification on your behalf. Because your income has been impacted by COVID-19, if the Court agrees, your child support payments will be modified effective the date that your ex is served.

Please contact my office for a consultation

Attorney Christina Sherman is a Marin County CA family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues.


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