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How do I Change Unfair Child Support?

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  • Written By: Christopher John
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A person who wants to change an unfair child support order must file a motion to modify the order. A motion is a formal request to a court to make a particular decision. Each jurisdiction will have its own rules concerning the format of a motion. A motion to modify an unfair child support order will ordinarily contain a series of numbered statements identifying the parties, identification of the existing order, how long the order has been in effect, a statement explaining why the existing order constitutes unfair child support, and a legal basis justifying why modification is necessary. After this motion is prepared, the person requesting a change in unfair child support must file it with the court, serve a copy to the opposing party and request a hearing.

Most jurisdictions allow modification of a child support order when there is a substantial change in circumstances to justify the change. For example, an employer may lay off a person from a job, which results in no income or lower income for one of the parents. Accordingly, a court may enter an order decreasing the amount child support that parent must pay. If a parent is suddenly earning more money, a court may increase the child support he or she is to pay.

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Another example of a substantial change in circumstances occurs when a parent pays child support for multiple children and one of the children is no longer entitled to child support. The parent may then file a motion requesting that his or her child support payments be reduced. A child usually is entitled to receive child support until the child reaches the age of legal majority. In most jurisdictions, that is 18. If a child is emancipated or gets married before the age of majority, the child is no longer entitled to child support.

In contrast, many jurisdictions have certain circumstances under which they require a parent to continue paying child support past the age of majority. For example, if a child has a severe medical condition that prevents him from working and being self-supporting, a court may order child support to continue after the age of majority. A parent would have a difficult time arguing unfair child support in this situation, despite the age of the child.

The most important aspect of a motion to modify child support is developing a position that an existing order is unfair. It is most difficult to convince a court to lower child support. Most jurisdictions have established a best-interests-of-the-child standard to guide its courts when establishing and modifying child support. Hence, a person seeking modification must keep this in mind when developing an argument for presentation to the judge.

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burcinc
Post 3

I think it has become more difficult to show that child support is unfair. I have the impression that more parents have been applying to lower or stop child support payments in recent years. False reporting of income has also become more common due to general financial troubles experienced by parents. There are also people who just want to avoid their responsibilities.

fBoyle
Post 2

@literally45-- You should probably check with a local lawyer, but I think that you can apply to have the child support stopped in your case. Even if the law requires payments until the child is 21, becoming an independent generally means that the child will no longer receive child support. If he was still living with his mother and if he was going to school, then you would be required to continue payments. But living alone and making money are good enough reasons for the child support agency to stop these payments.

You should apply to the agency saying that the child support order is now unfair. Get the help of lawyer if you are unsure how to go about it. You don't have to though, you can apply and represent yourself in court if needed.

literally45
Post 1

My son is 18 but he has moved out of his mother's house and is working. However, according to our state's rules, child support is paid until the age of 21, not 18. I continue to pay child support for this reason. Are these payments considered to be unfair child support payments? Can I have the child support payments stopped?

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