A child support modification form is a document used to request changes to a court-ordered child support agreement. Parents who are separated or divorced 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.
This document is also sometimes referred to as:
- Request for Modification of Child Support
- Child Support Adjustment Form
- Support Modification Petition
- Petition to Modify Child Support
What is a Child Support Modification Form?
Child support is a payment often made in intervals by one spouse to the other spouse to cover the financial needs of any children they may have. Both parents have an obligation to support such children, and courts can obligate one party to pay child support.
A child support modification form is then a document that allows a spouse to request changes to the payment amount in their child support obligations.
How To Write a Child Support Modification Form
Before writing your child support agreement, keep in mind that laws on child support modification vary from state to state, so it’s essential to research your state’s specific requirements.
For example, in Illinois, you can only modify child support every three years or when there is a significant change in one parent’s situation. On the other hand, California law allows child support to be modified at any time as long as the proposed change is greater than $50 or 20% of the total child support amount.
What To Include in a Modification of Child Support
Once you have the form for your state, you can complete it by including the following information:
- Each parent’s full name and address
- Each child’s full name and birthdate
- The date of the existing child support order
- The current child support amount and the frequency of payments
- A copy of your state’s Child Support Guidelines attached as Exhibit A to the form
- The new child support amount and frequency of payments
- A statement verifying which parent shall pay the child’s health insurance and/or tuition payments
On the child support modification form, you must also indicate whether you want your local child support enforcement agency to administer the child support or if the child support will be paid directly from one parent to the other.
After you’ve completed the form, you and the co-parent must sign it. Some states also require the presence of up to two witnesses. Once the witnesses have signed the form, you must attach it to a petition to modify child support document and file both the form and the petition in the appropriate jurisdiction. Please note that a petition to modify child support is required to make any modifications to your child support agreement. Check your state government website for specific information on the filing process.
The court will notify you of a child support modification hearing after you’ve filed your petition and attached the form. At the hearing, a judge will review your case, determine if the child support agreement meets your child’s best interests, and, if so, issue a revised child support order.
Sample Child Support Modification Form
Below is a sample of a child support modification form.
Tips for Writing a Child Support Modification Form
When drafting your child support form, be sure to provide any additional information you want the court to include in the revised child support order. For example, if you and the other parent have agreed to pay a portion of your child’s extracurricular activity fees, you must clearly define the payment details. Include the amounts both of you will pay, how you two will make the payments, and when. For instance, parents could pay 60% and 40%, respectively, with payments made when fees arise or with regular child support payments.
If the new child support order doesn’t include each term you and your co-parent have agreed to, you may have difficulty enforcing a verbal agreement later if the other parent fails to pay. The more detailed you are in your child support modification form, the more likely you will avoid future disputes.
Additionally, most states that have statutory child support guidelines require you to comply with them. These guidelines are based on a few different models:
- Income Shares: This model reflects what the child would have received if the parents lived together. It takes into account the income of both parents and other expenses such as childcare and extraordinary medical expenses.
- Percentage of Income: This model only takes into account the noncustodial parent’s income and applies a percentage to their income.
If you deviate from those guidelines, you generally have to provide a valid reason why you and the other parent have agreed to a different child support amount.
For more tips on filling in the document correctly, check out our guide on child support modification forms.
Child Support Modification Frequently Asked Questions
Can I write my own child support modification letter?
Yes, you can write your own child support modification letter using our templates or form builder, which will guide you through the creation process. If you are uncertain about filling in the details of the form, you should consult a family law attorney.
What paperwork do I need to modify my child support with the court?
When you file your child support modification form with the court, you will need to attach your existing child support order and a copy of the child support guidelines if your state requires them. At the child support hearing, you should bring copies of your most recent tax return, pay stubs, and any documentation you have verifying your child’s expenses, like health insurance, daycare, or tuition.