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How do I modify my child support order?

Child support modifications may be a significant concern for many parents who have a child support order as the circumstances of life change following a divorce or the establishment of an initial child support order. Parents may wonder if a child support modification is possible, under what circumstances it might be possible and how they can request a child support modification. Under both federal and state laws, individuals who have a child support order have the right to request a review of their child support order. The Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services in Utah conducts the review and the child support amount can go up or down.

A request for review of the child support amount can be made by either parent and must be made in writing. Following the request in writing, the Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services will request certain information and documents to help them review the request and certain information may be required on a case-by-case basis. Verification of each parent's income is needed when requesting a modification.

The Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services may modify the child support order if it is at least 3 years old and a new award would be at least 10 percent higher or lower for either parent; if the order is less than 3 years old but the parent demonstrates a significant change in circumstances that is not temporary and is expected to last 12 months or longer and the new award would be at least 15 percent higher or lower for either parent; or the child support order does not require a parent to have medical insurance for medical expenses for the child or children.

In some circumstances, a child support order will not be modified so it is important for parents to understand under what circumstances a change may not be possible. Child support issues can grow contentious at times which is why it helps for parents to understand what to expect and the ways that the family law process is available to help them resolve their child support concerns.

Source: Utah Department of Human Services Recovery Services, "Review and Adjustment of Support Amounts Frequently Asked Questions," Accessed July 26, 2017

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Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law
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