Want To Modify Child Support, Best To Act Promptly - Reape-Rickett

Want To Modify Child Support, Best To Act Promptly

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The case of County of Santa Clara v. Wilson confirms the saying, “If you snooze, you loose”. Mr. Wilson was to pay $381 per month in child support for his child. However, Mr. Wilson, in 2000, was incarcerated and unable to make his child support payments. The county obtained a default judgment against Wilson, however, in April 2002, Wilson filed a motion seeking to modify the child support judgment due to his incarceration. The trial court granted Mr. Wilson’s motion and reduced the child support obligation to zero while he was incarcerated. The court also made the order effective in December 2001, four months before Wilson sought the modification. The county appealed contending that the court could not forgive the four months of back child support the that accrued prior to Wilson filing the modification motion. The appeals court held in favor of the county and reversed the trial court. The appeals court held that the trial court could not modify to zero the back child support obligation that accrued before Mr. Wilson’s request to modify. The court could modify to zero the amount of support from and date of filing and thereafter any arrears that may have accrued, but not before.

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