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Press Release

California Child Custody Ruling Limits Support Modifications

A recent court ruling limits the fiduciary duty to truthfully disclose income. It held this duty ends when both parties intend the final order to be absolute.
July 05, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The state of California requires that both parents provide financial support for their children. When required, the court decides the child support amount and which parent will pay.
Both parents are required to fully disclose income and expenses so a support determination can be determined. The judge will use this information to determine a child support award and issue an order for support. Occasionally, modifications to existing orders may need to be made.
Details of California Court of Appeals Ruling
Although modifications are allowed, a California court of appeals ruling recently held that a parent's duty to disclose changes in financial status that may affect child support terminate after a final order is entered.
Although the court notes California's strong public policy in favor of adequate child support, it ultimately rules the duration of this duty ends with the issuance of a final child support order.
Required Disclosures and How They Impact Child Support Obligations
Modifications to child support orders require a new order or stipulation approved by the court. When allowed, the modification generally correlates to significant changes in one of the following areas:
- Increase or decrease in earnings
- Amount of time child is cared for by a parent
The court of appeals notes in its recent holding that final child support orders are never truly permanent and are often modified. However, it states the distinction present in this case is the clear intent that the order represents a true, "final resolution of all issues related to child support." Based on this language, the court holds the duty to disclose no longer exists.
This case highlights the role language and proper word use plays in support orders. Use of the wrong language can negatively impact legal rights and remedies. As a result, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced child custody attorney when negotiating custody and visitation rights to ensure all rights are protected.
Article provided by Law Offices of Korol & Velen
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