Those who wish to change or modify their child support order should first petition the court for such a change. When the petition is filed, any documentation to support the change should also be included. Once the petition is filed, a hearing date will be scheduled to determine if the request should be granted or if another fact finding hearing needs to take place.
There is no set length of time to determine the outcome of a child support modification request. Depending on the type of case being presented to the court, there may be no cost to ask for a change to a child support order. In cases where the parents agree to a modification, there may be no need for a hearing before the change is accepted by the court.
Parents who are paying child support are advised to ask for relief when circumstances change. This is because relief can only be granted retroactive to the date that the request is made. In other words, the current order is in effect and enforceable until the court says otherwise regardless of a parent's ability to pay. Those who are incarcerated may be required to make child support payments if they went to jail prior to October 2010.
Anyone who is asking for support modifications may wish to talk to a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to provide assistance with filling out paperwork or taking other steps necessary to win a modification to a support order. An attorney might also be able to help a client understand how the law determines a parent's ability to pay.
Source: Administration for Children & Families , "Changing a Child Support Order in Your State", December 17, 2014