Reviewing a Court Order for a Change

Having an order changed is often referred to as order modification. Only a court can change a child support order. Options to modify an order for support are as follows:

  • If both parents can agree to a new payment amount, they may file a Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgment form with the local County Clerk of Court's office. There is no filing fee for this type of request.
  • A parent may file a motion to modify the order pro se with the local County Clerk of Court's office. If both parents do not agree to the terms, there is a $30 filing fee for this type of request that requires a court date.
  • A parent may hire an attorney to file an action on their behalf.
  • A parent may request a review of their child support case from their local child support agency. There is no fee for this service.

If a parent requests a review of their case from the local child support agency, the agency has up to 180 days to complete the review. A child support agency may deny the request, attempt to facilitate an agreement with the other parent, or set a court date for review by a judge.

The order review looks at three issues:

  • Does the dollar amount in the child support order follow the designated percentage of income?
  • Does the court order include medical support?
  • Has there been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order?

Find out how the child support agency decides to proceed on a request to review a case below

A review WILL be done when:

  • A parent gets cash assistance benefits for the children, and the order has not been reviewed for three years.
  • A parent asks for a review, and the order has not been reviewed in three years.
  • A court orders the review.

A review MIGHT be done when:

Examples of a substantial change in circumstance

  • The paying parent receives a raise or decrease in salary that would lead to a monthly change in the support order of more than $50.
  • The court changes a child's placement, and the child is now placed with the parent who is ordered to pay support.
  • The paying parent is no longer responsible to pay support for an older child on a case, and a lower monthly support amount is requested.
  • The parent getting support now receives public assistance benefits, and the order is old or no support was ordered.
  • A parent hires an attorney to ask the court for a review.
  • A parent asks the court for a review by filing his or her own motion.
  • The last review was less than three years ago, but there has been a substantial change in circumstance.
  • The noncustodial parent is incarcerated.

A review WILL NOT be done when:

  • A parent has no legal duty to provide current support. For example, all children are legal adults, or the parental rights were terminated for one parent.
  • Good Cause has been found or is pending for a parent enrolled in the W-2 program.
  • The order is from another state, and that other state manages the support order.
  • The whereabouts of a parent are unknown.
  • The paying parent has voluntarily reduced his or her income.

Modifying a Child Support Order

A legal change of a child support order is called a modification. A change could increase or decrease the amount of the support order. It could also add or modify the order to provide medical support.

An order could be changed if a review finds that:

  • The order does not follow the designated percentage of income
  • The order does not include medical support
  • The change in child support would be $50 or more a month (higher or lower)

How an order is changed:

  • If the child support agency does the review and finds that a change is necessary, they might draft a legal agreement, known as a stipulation, and ask both parents to sign it. The legal agreement will take effect when the court approves it.
  • If both parents agree to change the amount of support, they may use the Office of State Court's online form, FA-604 - Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgment for Support. This can be done at the child support agency, or the parents can complete the form on their own and submit it to the child support agency.
  • If a parent does not agree to the stipulation, the child support agency may ask the court to change the order.
  • If the court reviews the order, the court will decide whether or not to change it.