A child support modification form is a document requesting changes to a court-ordered child support agreement.
Separated or divorced parents often use this document when they have a significant change in circumstances. For example, a co-parent can ask a court to modify their payment amount due to a loss of employment or a substantial decrease in income.
If both parents agree, they can complete and sign a revised child support agreement and adhere to its terms while waiting for their child support hearing.
What Is Child Support Modification?
Child support modification refers to the adjustments in child support, which are payments one parent makes to the other to cover the financial needs of their children. A court can obligate one party to pay child support, but the amounts one party can pay may change over time.
Child support modification can involve increasing or decreasing payments, depending on the parents’ unique situations.
Reasons for Child Support Modification
The following factors can result in the need for one party to petition for child support modification:
- Income Changes: If either party loses their job or experiences a significant decrease in income, they may want to request payment changes. Changes in earning capacities by either party may also result in the need for payment adjustments.
- Custody Arrangement Changes: Changes in legal/physical custody or the amount of time the child spends with each parent may result in payment adjustments.
- Loss of Health Insurance Coverage: If a parent loses their health insurance and it affects the child’s medical expenses, they may request payment adjustments.
- Changes in the Child’s Expenses/Needs: If the child has increased needs or expenses relating to childcare, extracurricular activities, or tuition, one parent may have to start paying more in child support.
- New Dependents or Remarriage: If one parent gets remarried or has additional children to care for, they may have a more dire financial situation and need additional child support payments.
- Relocation: One parent relocating to a different city or state may impact the cost of living, visitation, and other related expenses.
- Errors in the Original Agreement: Finding miscalculations or other errors in the initial child support order may lead to a modification request.
- Agreement by Both Parents: If both parties agree to payment changes, they can implement them.
- Retirement: The retirement of one parent can impact their income and ability to meet child support obligations.
How to Modify a Current Order for Child Support
Follow these instructions to modify a current order for child support:
- Understand the grounds for modification. Learn why you might need to modify a current order, as understanding the reasons can increase your chances of success.
- Gather documents. Gather supporting documents so you can make a better case for yourself. Collect evidence reporting changes in custody arrangements or income increases/decreases.
- Contact the child support agency. Contact the child support agency or the court that issued the original order, as it can provide guidance on the specific forms you’ll need to complete the modification.
- Complete a modification request. Use our template to create a modification request. Please note that it isn’t legally binding until the court approves your request.
- File the request. File the request with the court or child support agency. Pay any associated fees.
- Notify the other parent. Notify the other parent of the request you submitted. Some jurisdictions have specific requirements for serving notice. For example, you might have to serve notice via certified mail.
- Attend a court hearing or mediation session. Attend a court hearing or mediation session so the court or agency can review your request. Both parents may present their case if the organization allows.
- Wait for the organization to review your case. Let the organization review your case and present you with a decision. The court or agency may approve or deny your request for child support modification.
- Obtain a new order. If the organization approves your request, it should issue a new order.
How to Write a Child Support Modification Form
Step 1 – Write the Date and State of the Agreement
Write the state where you plan to execute the modification. Record the agreement’s “Effective Date,” including the day, month, and year.
Step 2 – List the Parents’ Names
List the parents’ names, specifying the parent paying the child support and receiving the child support. Include their addresses.
Step 3 – Write the Children’s Information
List all children whom the parents have together and who will benefit from the child support payments. Include their birthdates. Specify whether the parents are expecting other children.
Step 4 – Describe the Original Agreement
Describe the original child support agreement, including the date the parties entered it and the payment amounts.
Step 5 – Record the New Payment Amounts
Record the new payment amounts and specify their frequency. Indicate whether the agreed-upon child support follows state guidelines. If the payments aren’t in accordance with state guidelines, both parties should acknowledge their rights and show mutual agreement to deviate from state guidelines.
Step 6 – Describe the Responsibility of Tuition and Medical Expenses
Describe the responsibility of tuition and medical expenses. Specify if both parties will share these obligations equally or if one parent will assume full responsibility.
Step 7 – Indicate Whether There’s a Waiver of Payment Through a Clerk
You and the other parent can decide whether you’ll agree to a waiver of payment through a clerk. If you want to waive payment through a clerk, the paying party will issue their payments directly to the receiving party.
Step 8 – Specify How You’ll Handle Disputes
Specify how you’ll handle disputes, whether it’s through legal action or mediation. Detail if the prevailing party can recover reasonable attorney’s fees if they go to court.
Step 9 – Obtain Signatures
Obtain both parents’ signatures. Ensure each party prints their full name next to their signature.
Step 10 – Have the Witnesses Write Their Information
If people are witnessing your signatures, have them write their information. This information includes their signatures, names, and addresses.
Step 11 – Have the Notary Complete Their Acknowledgment
Have the notary complete their acknowledgment, ensuring they either know both parties personally or receive satisfactory evidence of their identities.
Child Support Modification Form Sample
Download a child support modification form in PDF or Word format:
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Win a Child Support Modification Case?
The court isn’t guaranteed to approve your request for a child support modification. However, you can improve your chances of winning your case by implementing these tips:
- Understand the grounds for child support modification.
- Collect as many relevant documents for supporting evidence as possible, including pay stubs and medical bills.
- Complete all forms accurately and thoroughly.
- Seek the services of a lawyer to manage your unique circumstances.
- Remain honest and transparent throughout the process.
How Does Child Support Change If My Income Changes?
Significant income changes can result in the need for child support modification. For example, if the receiving party experiences a loss of income, the paying party may have to pay more in child support. If the paying party experiences a loss of income, they may not have to pay as much because they can no longer afford their previous payments.
Any time a change in income occurs, the affected party should notify the other parent and the child support agency/court in a timely manner to avoid legal consequences.
How Do I Transfer Child Support to Another State?
Contact the initial agency that issued the original child support agreement. Fill out the necessary forms with this agency to initiate the transfer to a new state. Upon approval, the original agency will transfer the child support arrangement to an agency in the new state. Ensure compliance with the new agency’s requirements.
Who Can Request Modification or Review of a Child Support Obligation?
Either the paying (non-custodial) or receiving (custodial) parent can motion for the review of a child support obligation. In some instances, the state’s child support agency can initiate a review of payment obligations.