How to Change Your Child Support Order

Signing a Legal Document with Judge's Gavel in background

A change to a child support order is a modification. At any time, either parent or the child’s legal guardian can ask for a change (called a “modification”) to increase or decrease the amount of court-ordered child support. You will need to contact your local child support agency to make a request for a modification or you can petition the court yourself. If the other party lives in another state, your child support agency may have to request that the other state conduct a review and request a modification.

The Modification Process

  • Once a request is made the department sends paperwork to both parties requesting information and verification of income, health insurance, and custody information. Once the completed packets are returned, a caseworker will review the information to determine if your order qualifies for DCSS to file a motion requesting that the court order be changed.
  • To qualify to have your motion completed by the department, the current support must change by at least $50 or 20%, whichever is less.
  • If the parties agree to the new amount, DCSS can complete a signed agreement, or stipulation, and file it with the court. Once filed, the stipulation will become the new court order, and the parents will not need to appear in court.
  • If either parent disagrees with the new amount, a court hearing will be set.

Points to remember:

  • You will need to provide proof of income and expenses, unemployment or disability status, child care expenses and custody/visitation arrangements.
  • To request a modification you must have an open child support case (a case can be opened at any time)
  • Your child support order can go up or down based on information gathered (the order may not be what you expected)
  • There is no charge for requesting a modification
  • Even if your request is denied by your local agency, you can still file your own motion to go to court to have a judge or a county child support commissioner decide your order (the Family Law Facilitator can help you do this)