Reviewing a Court Order for a Change
Having an order changed is often referred to as order modification. Before an order is modified, it will be reviewed by the child support agency and/or by the court. Both parents will be asked to provide current financial information. Reviews can result in modification that can cause the support to go up, down, or remain the same. The review could also render changes in the medical support ordered on a case. When the review is complete, a notice about the results will be mailed to both parents. If the review reveals that the child support order should be modified, the court will have to approve the modification. There can be fees associated with reviewing and changing an order. Learn more - watch a video about changing your child support order.
The review looks at three issues:
- Does the dollar amount in the child support order follow the Child Support Percentage of Income Guidelines?
- Does the order include medical support?
- Has there been a substantial change in circumstances for either parent since the last order?
When Reviews are Done
A review will be done when:
- A parent asks for a review, and the order has not been reviewed for three years; or
- A court orders a review; or
- A parent gets cash benefits for their children, and
- the order has not been reviewed for three years, and
- Good Cause has not been found or is not pending, or
- the parent with Good Cause asks for the review
A review might be done when:
- The last review was less than three years ago, but there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Substantial changes include but are not limited to job loss, changes in the child's placement, or incarceration.
- A parent hires an attorney to ask the court for a review.
- A parent asks the court for a review using a "do it yourself" or pro se approach. Parents can contact their family court commissioner for information on pro se forms, or get the forms online.
A review will not be done when:
- A parent has no legal duty to provide current support. For example, all children are emancipated, or the paying parent's parental rights were ended.
- "Good Cause" has been found or is pending for a parent who gets W-2 services or cash benefits, unless the parent with Good Cause requests the review.
- The order is from another state, and that other state has control over the order.
- The whereabouts of a parent are unknown.
- The paying parent has voluntarily reduced his or her income.
Who Reviews the Order
- If you are receiving cash benefits, your order will automatically be reviewed every three years by your child support agency.
- If you have applied for
child support services or if you were referred to child support through a
public aid/benefit program,
you can request a review every three years or after a substantial change in circumstances.
- Every three years notices are mailed to both parents indicating their right for a review
- Parents are interested in a review should submit a request in writing to their child support agency
- Some agencies will review the order themselves, and others will provide help to parents on how to use the pro se process to ask for a review of the support order.
- All families paying and receiving support get financial services. If you have not applied for child support services or have not been referred by a public aid or benefit program, you are receiving only financial services. If this is the case, a review can only be done by a pro se motion or by hiring a private attorney.