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The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan

Changing a Child Support Order to Accommodate a Special Needs Child

When a California divorce court issues a child support order, the court considers the income of each parent and the needs of the child. But, what if the child’s needs change? Here are some examples:

  • When you got divorced, your son was a toddler. Maybe he was a little different, but what kid isn’t unique? It wasn’t till school started that you realized something was wrong. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism. Suddenly your calendar was full with the therapy appointments and socialization groups that he needs to help him towards a normal life. The groups are expensive; they are wiping out your savings. 
  • Your son was healthy and happy and normal, until he got sick. He was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. The prognosis is good, but you can’t keep your job while taking care of his medical needs. How will you make ends meet?
  • Your daughter was in a car accident. Your beautiful girl suffered a brain injury. She will need lifelong care. Will you be able to pay for this care?

When an existing California child support order is no longer adequate to provide the child care, health care, or education that your child needs, a support order can be modified. The first step is to see if you and your ex-spouse can reach an agreement on your own. Talk to your ex about your child’s needs. Give him a list of expenses including medical care, special equipment, therapy, and medications, and let him know the amount that you can contribute. Decide on the amount that you need to ensure that your child receives all the care he requires.

If your ex won’t agree, you may need the help of a San Francisco child support attorney. The attorney will first try to reach an agreement with your spouse, but if this can’t be done, he will ask the court to modify the support order. A modification in child support can be temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances. 

The law is on your side. California law requires both parents to support a minor child or adult child who is incapacitated. To learn more about modifying a California child support agreement, please call the San Francisco women-only divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.