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Learn about changing a child support order

Learn about reasons you can change your support order and how the court decides on these changes.

There may be a number of reasons why you might want to change your support order. If the court has made an order requiring a parent to pay child support, the only way to legally change that order is to go back to the court that entered the order. Changes are usually called “modifications.”

Common reasons for seeking changes to support orders

The most common reasons for seeking child support modifications are:  

  • There is a difference between the amount of child support being paid and the amount that should be paid under the Child Support Guidelines.
  • Health insurance that was available at reasonable cost is no longer available or is now too expensive.
  • A parent can now get affordable health insurance that was previously unavailable.
  • Any other material and substantial change in circumstances has happened, such as losing a job or unemployment income, a change in a child’s living arrangements, etc.

Additional Resources for Common reasons for seeking changes to support orders

What you need to know about changing your support

If the order of child support is part of a document that is a judgment (divorce judgment, judgment on complaint for custody-parenting time-support, etc.) then you must file a complaint for modification. As with all Probate and Family Court judgments and orders,one or both parents can ask for a modification.

How the court decides on child support modifications

The judge will look at the current child support order, listen to the parties about what circumstances may have changed since that order was made, and review the financial statements and child support guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines look at your income and expenses, how much time the child lives with each parent, the ages of the children, and other factors. The judge may also look at available health insurance options for both parents.

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