Changing a Court Order

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A change in a court order is called a modification. Either parent can request that the Department of Child Support Services review his or her child support case for modification. By law, a modification must be based upon a change in circumstances in one or both of the parents’ lives.

Examples of a change in circumstance may include:

  • A custody or visitation change regarding the child
  • A significant change in income of either parent
  • Incarceration of the noncustodial parent

The Department of Child Support Services is not required to review an order if:

  • The order was reviewed for modification within the prior 12 months
  • The order was established or adjusted within the prior 24 months
  • One of the parents cannot be located and there is no new information regarding his or her whereabouts

When a modification is requested, the department sends a modification packet to both parents requesting information about the case. The department determines if a modification is appropriate based on the financial and other information provided.

If a modification is appropriate, both parents will be informed of our decision. The department will file the necessary papers with the court to set a court hearing. At the court hearing, the amount of the child support order may be either increased or decreased, or the judge may deny the motion to modify.

As long as there is a current child support order requiring the noncustodial parent to pay support, he or she is required to continue paying support. A parent’s duty to pay child support does not end until the court takes a new order. If the custody of the child changes, the parents must take immediate action and contact the Department of Child Support Services.

Parents also have the option of requesting a modification directly from the court without the involvement of the Department of Child Support Services.  For more information about filing for your own modification, contact the Family Law Facilitator.