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File to change your child support if only one person wants the change

Learn how to change child support orders if only one party wants to make a change.

Probate and Family Court

The Details

What you need

If only one person wants to change the support order, there are 2 options:

  1. If the Department of Revenue (DOR) is involved in the child support arrangement, they will assist you if it appears that there's a legal basis for changing the order. Learn how at DOR's Change your child support order.
  2. If you decide to file for a modification yourself or DOR is not involved, you must file the Complaint for Modification (CJD 104) form (see below).   

The person filing the complaint is the plaintiff and the other party is the defendant, regardless of who was the plaintiff or defendant in the original court proceeding. You must state the circumstances that have changed in the complaint.

 

Fees

Name Fee Unit
Complaint for Modification fee (if filed by DOR, there is no fee) $50 each
Summons fee $5 each

How to file

Find the Probate and Family Court in the county where your case was originally heard.

If you and the defendant live in this state but in different counties, you must file in the county where your case was originally heard.  For example, if you were in Norfolk County when support was first ordered, but you now live in Suffolk County, and the defendant in Plymouth County, you must file in Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

If the other party lives in a different state, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act applies. This act allows the parent who has custody to request or modify child support from a parent in another state without having to necessarily travel to that state. Ask court staff for more information if you're in this situation.

Find the Probate and Family Court in the county where your case was originally heard.

If you and the defendant live in this state but in different counties, you must file in the county where your case was originally heard.  For example, if you were in Norfolk County when support was first ordered, but you now live in Suffolk County, and the defendant in Plymouth County, you must file in Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

If the other party lives in a different state, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act applies. This act allows the parent who has custody to request or modify child support from a parent in another state without having to necessarily travel to that state. Ask court staff for more information if you're in this situation.

Next steps

After you file the complaint

  • When you file the complaint, the court staff will give you a completed summons form. You must make sure that this form is delivered to the other party. If you feel that the other party will not object to the modification, you can have them sign the summons in the presence of a notary public and then return it to the court. Otherwise, see Service of Process (the way you deliver court papers to the person required to respond to them) for an explanation of how service works.  Keep a copy of the complaint and summons for yourself.
  • Once the constable or sheriff has completed service to the other person, he will either send the summons completed on the back with the date of service directly back to the court or to you. If he sends it to you, make sure that you file the completed summons with the court as soon as possible.
  • Fill out a Financial Statement and send it to the other parent.
  • Fill out the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (see below). 
  • The defendant has 20 days to file with the court an “answer” to the Complaint for Modification. An answer is a written response to what the plaintiff has stated in the Complaint for Modification. See Answers for more information. After that time, you should file a request for assignment of a court date if the staff has not already assigned one.  If the defendant doesn't file an answer, then you should ask court staff about scheduling it for an uncontested trial or pre-trial conference. If they do, then ask the court staff to schedule a pre-trial conference and explain the issues involved in the modification.

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