Modifying a Support Order
Once a support order is issued, it remains in effect until the court modifies it—even if there is a change in one parent’s income or a change in custody. For example, if you and the other parent switch custody, either the judge who issues the custody order modifies your support order or you must request a modification.
When can I request a modification?
The court will consider modifying your support order:
When There is a Real, Substantial, and Unanticipated Change in Circumstances:
Either parent may request a modification if:
The expense of a second family is not considered on its own to be a real, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances; however, it may be taken into account during a three-year review.
At a Three-Year Review:
By law, either parent may request a review of their support case—once every three years. At the review, either parent may ask the court to modify the support order, even if there has not been a real, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances. For example, you may ask the court to consider the expense of a second family or the resources of a new spouse when calculating the amount of support to be paid.
If the custodial parent receives public assistance or Medicaid, OCS may request a modification at any time, because of a substantial change in circumstances or other reason. This is required by federal law for all public assistance recipients.
How do I request a modification?
Either parent may request a change (or modification) to their order—with legal counsel or on their own. Requesting a change on your own, without legal counsel, is called a pro se modification. Here’s how to do it:
If you request a pro se modification and we are providing services on your case, our staff may attend the modification hearing to provide information about both parents’ ability to support the children; make sure the children have adequate health insurance; or represent the state’s interest in recouping public assistance funds the custodial parent received.
It may be several months before the court holds a hearing to rule on your request for modification. We cannot change the terms of your current court order until we receive a signed copy of a new order.
Click here to learn how to apply for OCS services.
If you need more information or help modifying an existing support order, please contact the OCSHelpline at 1-800-786-3214 or OCSCSU@ahs.state.vt.us.
For more detailed information about modifying support and other child-support related topics, you should read: