Child support payments cannot be changed without going to court. The amount of child support owed only changes when the judge enters a new court order that changes it. Either parent can ask the court to change or modify the amount of child support payments if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last child support order. A substantial change in circumstances means a big change in the child's life or in the life of the paying parent.
Examples of big changes are:
- An increase in the paying parent's income (for example, from a raise or new job), usually 10% or more
- A decrease in the paying parent's income (for example, due to a loss of job or disability), usually 10% or more
- An increase in the needs of the child
- The child has a disability that requires more support
- The child turned 18 and is no longer in high school
- The child no longer lives with the parent getting support
- I don't think the child is mine
Note: If the child support order includes more than one child and one of the children turns 18, then the paying parent can file a motion to decrease child support because one of the children has turned 18.
Updated: May 2018