A change in a court order is called a modification. Either parent can request that the Child Support Services Department review his or her child support case for modification. Generally, a modification must be based upon a "substantial change of circumstances" since the last order was made by the court.
Examples of a change in circumstances include:
A change in primary custody (who the child lives with most of the time)
A significant change in visitation regarding the supported child
A significant change in the income of either parent
Incarceration of the Person Paying Support (PPS)
The PPS starts receiving General Relief (GR), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veteran’s Benefits
Military deployment (see Military for more information)
Modification Review Process
When a Person Receiving Support (PRS) or Person Paying Support (PPS) requests modification, the Child Support Services Department (CSSD) sends a modification packet to both parents requesting information about each parent’s financial status and various other factors that affect child support. CSSD will determine if asking the court for a modification is appropriate based on the financial and other information provided.
If a modification is appropriate, both parties will be informed of the decision. CSSD will file the necessary papers with the court to set a court hearing unless the parties can agree to the support amount ahead of time. If an agreement is reached, a stipulation must be filed with the court. When the judicial officer signs the form, it becomes a court order. If an agreement is not reached ahead of time, the case will go to court and the judicial officer will decide the amount of support. At the court hearing, the amount of the child support order may be either increased or decreased, or the judge may deny the motion to modify.
To request a modification review:
Until an order for child support is modified, the PPS is required to pay the child support amount in the existing order. Contact Us if there is a change in circumstances.
Parents also have the option of requesting a modification directly from the court. For more information about filing your own request for modification, contact the Office of the Family Law Facilitator.