How to Modify Child Support in a Divorce Decree

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A divorce involving children addresses child-related issues such as child support. The court understands that circumstances change, thus requiring certain orders to be modified. The system of child support used in most states follows a standard procedure for making changes. At any time the change in child support will result in a significant increase or decrease, you can request the court recalculate child support. Either party can request child support be modified.

  • Go to the courthouse where your original divorce orders were determined. Request a petition or motion to modify child support. Depending on your location, the forms may be referred to by either name. If both parents agree on the modification, you can file an uncontested motion to modify child support.

  • Complete all paperwork. State the reason you are seeking a change in child support. In most cases, child support is modified only if there is a substantial change in the financial circumstances of either party. If the change is not significant, you will need to show a material change related to the child that requires an increased amount of financial support. Some examples include special education needs or medical expenses. If custody of the child changes, you may also modify child support. You will also need to indicate whether you are requesting the modification for a temporary or permanent basis.

  • Provide documentation of any financial changes or custody change. Supply pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills or related case information. Include the documents with your petition.

  • Return all paperwork to the court for filing. Some states charge a filing fee to modify child support. The other party will need to be served with a copy of the petition. He will have a specified period of time to submit a written response to your request. A hearing will be scheduled. If your motion was uncontested, both parties must agree, sign and file.

  • Attend the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will review your request for a child support modification. Both sides will be heard before a decision is reached.

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