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If you are a Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR) customer and your youngest child is under the age of 17½, DOR can help you with your request for modification whether you are the parent who receives support or the parent who pays support and:
- You are asking for a modification of a current child support order (an increase or decrease or to add an order for health care coverage for the children); and
- Your request for modification involves ONLY child or medical support for a minor child (e.g., it does not involve custody or visitation).
The first step is for you to consider the reason you think a modification of your child support order might be appropriate. Two common reasons for a modification are:
- A parent’s income changes. For example a parent becomes unemployed, starts to receive disability payments or public assistance, or becomes incarcerated. Or a parent gets a new job at higher pay.
- A parent’s health care coverage changes. For example, the parent ordered to provide health care coverage no longer has coverage available to him or her.
You should also consider what the court might order for child support. In Massachusetts, the court uses the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of a child support order. Only the court can change the amount of your child support order. The Guidelines consider several factors including both parents' income and ability to earn income, the number and ages of the children, and the cost of health care coverage for the children. You can see the Guidelines and get an idea of how much child support the court might order by using the Child Support Calculation Worksheet available on the court’s website at:
If you ask the court to modify your order, the court may increase or decrease your child support order or may make no change at all. We recommend you use this online worksheet to see if a modification would be called for at the present time.
Note: If you are a parent who pays child support and you are incarcerated, do not follow these instructions. Send us an email at CSE General Information, or send a letter to the address below, to request a package specific to your needs.
If you want DOR’s help YOU MUST:
- Ask DOR or the court staff for the necessary forms; and
- Submit the forms and any necessary documents to DOR at the following address:
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Child Support Enforcement Division
P.O. Box 7057
Boston, MA 02204
Note: DO NOT submit a modification form with your address on it if you want your address protected from the other parent.
Call DOR before submitting a modification form if you have safety concerns related to the other parent and moving forward with a modification could create a safety risk to you or your children.
You must also call DOR before submitting a modification form if any of the following apply:
- Your child support order is not from a Massachusetts court; or
- You want to end your child support order because you and the other parent are now living together.
DOR will review the forms and documents you provide and DOR’s information on your case and:
- If DOR agrees that a modification of the child support order might be appropriate DOR will file the forms for you; serve the other parent (and pay any cost of service); and ask the court to schedule a hearing. It may take several weeks to get a hearing date.
- If DOR does not agree that a modification might be appropriate, DOR will return the forms to you and, if you decide to go forward, you will have to file the forms, serve the other parent (and pay any cost for service), and schedule a hearing on your own.
- If we agree that a modification might be appropriate, but the location of the other parent is unknown, we will try to locate the other parent. We will proceed with the modification once the other parent is located.
- If we agree that a modification might be appropriate, but a Massachusetts court does not have authority to modify your order, we will send a request to the state that can modify the order.
If you do NOT want DOR’s help, you can file your forms directly with the court. If you file the forms directly with the court, DOR will NOT serve the forms, will NOT pay for service, and will NOT schedule a hearing for you.
The court will require some sort of evidence (documentation or testimony) about a parent's ability to pay. Examples of documents include copies of:
- Orders to report for military duty;
- Paystubs, bank statements, or income tax returns;
- A letter verifying receipt of public assistance benefits;
- A court order giving you custody of the children;
- Verification that you are providing medical insurance coverage;
- Proof of unemployment benefits;
- Proof of Social Security or Veterans’ benefits;
- Workers’ Compensation award letters;
- Proof of public assistance benefits; or
- Medical documentation.
If DOR is assisting you to go to court, our staff will appear at the court hearing and provide the court with any information we have about the income and assets of both parents. DOR does not represent either parent. Our goal is to ensure that the child support order is consistent with the parents' ability to pay and the Child Support Guidelines.
The modification form that is filed with the court includes your address, and it will be delivered to the other parent. You must call DOR if you want your address protected from the other parent or if you have safety concerns related to the other parent and moving forward with a modification could create a safety risk to you or your children.