Establishing and Calculating Child Support FAQ

I think our existing child support order is unfair. How can I change it?

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Answer:

I think our existing child support order is unfair. How can I change it?

You and your child's other parent may agree to modify the child support terms, but even an agreed-upon modification for child support must be approved by a judge to be legally enforceable.

If you and your ex can't agree on a change, you must request the court to hold a hearing in which each of you can argue the pros and cons of the proposed modification. As a general rule, the court will not modify an existing order unless the parent proposing the modification can show a change of circumstances. This rule helps prevent the court from becoming overburdened with frequent and repetitive modification requests.

Depending on the circumstances, a modification may be temporary or permanent. Examples of the types of changes that frequently support temporary modification orders are:

  • a child's medical emergency
  • the payer's temporary inability to pay (for instance, because of illness or an additional financial burden such as a medical emergency or job loss), or
  • temporary economic or medical hardship on the part of the recipient parent.

A permanent modification may be awarded under one of the following circumstances:

  • either parent receives additional income from remarriage
  • job change of either parent
  • cost of living increase
  • disability of either parent, or
  • needs of the child.

A permanent modification of a child support order will remain in effect until support is no longer required.

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