A support order for children is formulated based on the income of both parents, the child’s needs, and other pertinent issues. If you feel that an order has become a burden or is inadequate, you should consult a lawyer because you may have to arrange for the existing order to be modified.
STEP 1 – EVALUATE IF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES SUPPORT A MODIFICATION
In most states, modifying a support order requires proof of a change in circumstances in the employment of either parent or a change in the status of the children, since the initial order was issued, such as the child may now require expensive medical care or may have to be enrolled in a special school. The idea here is that the act of changing circumstances makes the original order inadequate or burdensome.
STEP 2 – DOCUMENT THE EVIDENCE THAT SUPPORTS YOUR PETITION
In case you had to file an income statement when the original support order was issued, then you will probably be asked to do it again. Gather documentation that supports the change of underlying circumstances to your request for modification. For example, document your decrease in wages or loss of a job, or increase in the other spouse’s wages, or increase in medical expenses that you must pay for a child, etc.
STEP 3 – DETERMINE WHICH FORM SHOULD BE PRESENTED
Some courts use standardized forms for a request for the modification of a support order. Contact your local court for more information. For example, sometimes the request is called a “request” for the modification or a “motion” to modify it, etc. Also, there may be forms of support that should be used, such as a sworn statement about your financial affairs or a financial spreadsheet. Finally, you may have to submit several copies of your documents in court. The clerk of the court will “seal” the copies and return them to you to notify the other spouse.
STEP 4 – PRESENT THE DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE APPROPRIATE COURT
Some states have a general court of the first instance for all civil actions, while other states have a separate family court.
STEP 5 – NOTIFY A COPY OF THE PETITION FOR MODIFICATION TO THE OTHER PARENT
The plaintiff is responsible for notifying the other party of copies of the petition, documents, subpoenas and other work papers. You may be able to notify the other party via email or through another person who personally delivers a copy to the other parent. Most states do not allow the plaintiff to inform the other party personally.
STEP 6 – FILL AND SEND THE PROOF OF DELIVERY TO THE COURT
After the other party has been notified, most states require that a “proof of service” be sent to the court. The proof of notification is a standard form used in the court in which the person who made the notification attests that the copies of the court documents were, in fact, sent to the other parent.
Throughout the previous steps, you will undoubtedly have to consult with your lawyer about the procedure, the possibilities of the court granting your request, and other matters related to your particular situation.