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Does Inflation Affect Child Support Payments?

Inflation is on the minds of many Americans, especially so for us here in California who already budget for a higher cost of living. Inflation causes most things to rise in price, so what about child support?

Will Child Support Automatically Increase?

Some states have enacted automatic increases in child support payments to mirror the increased cost of living in society. In California, this may be done if the judge has set a cost of living adjustment (COLA) clause within the child support order. When a COLA order is in place, the required child support payment will increase annually based on certain economic factors, like the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Both the paying and receiving parents’ incomes will be considered. In some cases, changes will be made based on estimates of how each parent’s income will change due to inflation.

However, if there is no COLA clause in your child support orders, your payment requirement will not automatically increase.

Can I Request a Modification for Inflation?

Both the paying and receiving parents can request a child support order modification any time there is a change in life circumstances that requires an adjustment to the payments. This could mean making the payments higher or lower. Inflation does qualify as a reason to request a modification. If the custodial parent is struggling to care for the child financially due to the increased cost of living, they may seek a modification that requires the noncustodial parent to increase their payments. If granted, this modification will be permanent.

What If The Paying Parent Cannot Afford the Increase?

If there is no way that the paying parent will be able to make the payments, they will need to provide proof of this and request a modification for a lower amount of child support. It’s important to notify the courts of this, rather than skipping payments and eventually being found in contempt.

California Child Support Attorney

If you have concerns about the impact of inflation on your current child support setup, contact Curtis Family Law. We understand how stressful family law matters are, especially when they are money-related. We want to help you get the support setup that is right for you and your children. Contact us online today to set up an appointment with our Southern California child support lawyer.