A California parent may face some unexpected challenges if they are hit with a sudden disability due to an accident, injury or another cause. Families that rely on child support payments may also face significant challenges if the noncustodial parent is no longer able to work due to a disability. A disability can often mean that the original obligation for child support cannot be met.

When a child support court order is already in place, it is generally based on a state formula that includes the parent’s income. It is expected that a parent’s income will remain steady or even grow. However, disability can mean dramatic changes in a person’s life, especially if they are no longer able to continue working in their previous profession. The specific impact on child support payments can vary based on one’s circumstances. For example, if the disabled parent has disability insurance through their job, they will receive a continued income. However, that income might be significantly less than their previous salary. In such a case, the disabled parent may need to seek a change in their child support payments.

Noncustodial parents can return to family court for a child support modification, which can be temporary or permanent. If the condition is expected to improve over time, any change to the order may initially cover only the period estimated for recovery. However, if the parent’s disability persists after that time and is considered permanent, the modification may be long term.

When a parent faces a disability, it can change their lives in many ways. A family law attorney can help a parent with a disability seek a modification of their child support order.