Child support, once ordered by a court, cannot and should not be avoided until the child is of age of majority or is adopted, according the Department of Justice. However, the noncustodial parent may address the amount of child support by filing a motion in court or reaching an agreement with the other parent.
It is illegal under federal and state law to willfully fail to pay court-ordered child support, and offenders risk fines and prison sentences of up to two years, according to the Department of Justice. The enforcement of child support obligations is generally handled by state and local authorities, but in some situations, such as when the child resides in a different state or the payment due exceeds a certain amount, federal courts may also exercise jurisdiction.
Federal guidelines regulate the amount of child support. Most states adopt these guidelines, with minor differences. For example, in California's Family Code, the most important factors listed are the parents' respective income, the percentage of custody, and whether the parties have other dependents or incur extraordinary medical bills.
The noncustodial parent can file for a modification of the amount of child support if his income or the custodial parent's income has changed, if there is a change in the percentage of custody, or if other new circumstances justify a change in amount. However, the noncustodial parent is always advised to first try to reach an agreement with the other parent before resorting to court.