Child support payments are typically established in one of two ways—either by Department of Social Services or as part of a divorce proceeding.
Who might be entitled to a reduction?
These three primary changes in circumstance warrant most child support payment modifications.
1. The payor makes substantially less income than when the child support order was established.
Department of Social Services/Child Support Enforcement uses a standard formula and defines "substantially” as a reduction in income resulting in child support payments that are 20 percent less than currently being paid. (For example, if you are paying $100 in child support, the calculation for your new child support payment would have to reduce the new payment to $80 or less to qualify for a modification.)
You can estimate how a reduced income will impact child support payments by using this calculator provided by DSS. To get a good estimate, you’ll need accurate financial information for the custodial parent as well as yourself.
2. The payor has a biological or adopted child living in his home who was born or adopted since the last child support order was established.
3. The payor was injured or has a medical condition that prevents him from working.
The court and DSS/CSE require a simple written statement that defines the condition, documented and presented by a licensed medical provider. The court may also consider extraordinary expenses, shared custody or other orders as a cause for reducing child support payments.
What are the
- If you meet the change in circumstances requirement, you should determine if you have enough money to get legal papers processed.
- The average cost for filing modification papers is $175 which covers: $150 filing fee paid to family court and $25 service of documents by sheriff's department
If you don’t have the ability to pay $175, you can file a Motion and Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, meaning you wish to proceed in court without payment of the usual fees associated with a lawsuit or appeal. This is filed along with your request to modify child support. That form can be downloaded here.