In New Hampshire, child support orders can be modified to reduce or increase child support payments. There are two different situations when the parties subject to a child support order can request a modification. First, every three years the parties will automatically receive a notice informing them that they have the right at that time to request an adjustment. Second, you can request a modification when there is a substantial change in circumstances that makes the original order unfair.
How Do I Show a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
The Court will only modify a child support order if it has evidence of a substantial change in circumstances in the lives of the parents or the child subject to the order. Examples of when the court may find a modification is appropriate include:
- the sudden loss of employment or a promotion;
- an increase or a reduction in a child’s medical bills; or
- an increase or a reduction in education-related expenses.
An experienced family law attorney can help you determine if an adjustment is appropriate for your situation.
What Steps are Involved in Filing for a Child Support Modification?
When requesting a modification, multiple documents are filed with the court. The specific forms required vary based on whether the parties agree or disagree with a modification. In either instance, financial affidavits – detailing monthly incomes, expenses, debts, and assets – must be filed and shared between the parties.
When the parties are in agreement with the modification, the following must be filed with the court:
- Uniform Support Order (USO);
- Personal Data Sheet;
- Child Support Guidelines Worksheet;
- Financial Affidavits; and
- an Agreement.
A court filing fee is not required when the parties jointly agree to a modification. Once all of the documents are filed they will be submitted to the judge for review. If the agreement is approved and meets the state’s child support guidelines it will become a court order and each party will receive a copy by mail.
When the parties fail to agree on a modification, the requesting party must file the following with the court:
- Petition to Change a Court Order, which will be served on the other party;
- Personal Data Sheet;
- Financial Affidavit; and
- a $250 filing fee.
After the forms are filed and the filing fee is paid, the court will schedule a child support modification hearing. Before the hearing, the court may require that both parties attend mediation to try to come to an agreement. If a hearing is scheduled, the party requesting the modification must bring a completed USO to the court. A judge determines whether a modification is appropriate based on the state’s child support guidelines.
Contact New Hampshire Family Law Attorneys
Filing for a modification of child support can be a confusing and time-consuming process. The family law attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. have years of experience helping clients with child support modifications throughout New Hampshire. Call our offices today at (603) 624-3700 to speak with an attorney who can help with your case.