There are two procedures available to a parent who seeks a modification to a support order: the standard procedure and the simplified procedure. (A hearing may still be scheduled with the simplified procedure.)
Under the standard modification procedure a “substantial and continuing change of circumstances” allows either parent (or government agency) to seek modification of a support order by filing a request with the family court. This request must be supported by sufficient evidence of such change in circumstances.
Under the simplified modification procedure, if current income calculations under the guidelines result in a 15% change from the existing court order, that’s evidence of a “substantial and continuing change.” The procedure requires submission of a Parents Worksheet for Child Support Amount and supporting income documentation.
The guidelines allow the simplified modification procedure to be used when medical insurance responsibility needs to be changed or adjusted, again because of a changed circumstance, such as a job change and new insurance coverage.
As with the original support order, a new child support order must include the exact amount of the support obligation and the date the revised amount will begin.
Child support orders may cover one or more children. When a child reaches the age of majority, or is otherwise no longer covered as a “child” under the order, then a court-ordered modification is still required before the total amount is reduced. The parent seeking to reduce the support amount based on a recalculation under the guidelines should use the same procedure as with any other request for modification.
Remember: When more than one child is under the support order, the amount is not automatically reduced when one of the children turns 18. The court must order a reduction based on a recalculation of the obligations under the guidelines.