If you feel that the child support payments that you have been making are unreasonably high, then you can file for a modification in an attempt to lower the order.
However, only certain stipulations allow one to request an adjustment in their child support payments. MassLegalHelp defines these parameters:
The court can only modify the order after 3 kinds of changes:
- a parent’s income has changed;
- certain expenses for taking care of your child have changed; or
- a parent’s health insurance choices have changed.
Changes in either parent’s situation in the above categories can deem it possible for the court to review the child support ruling and can make necessary changes.
Recent changes to Massachusetts child custody laws have made a few adjustments on how child support is calculated. Changes have resulted in an average 11% decrease in child support payments among parents of one child. The courts must also consider the actual rate of pay of the parent making payments now, not simply basing the mandate on the potential rate that they could make with their current skill set. Reviewing these new child support guidelines with the court may help you find a way to lower your child support order.
In order to request the court to change the child support mandate, you will need to file a “complaint to modify.” The following excerpt from MassLegalHelp outlines how this may be completed.
There are three ways to change a child support order.
1. You can ask the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement (DOR/CSE) to file a Complaint for Modification for you.
DOR/CSE has an application form for you to use to apply for their help.
You can ask the DOR to file a complaint for you if you do not understand how to file a complaint or if you do not feel safe. If you want to keep your address secret, tell them this.
Remember that the DOR:
- can take a long time to process your paperwork;
- cannot file a complaint for you if your child is more than17 ½ years old; and
- is not your lawyer. The DOR may not handle your case the way you would like.
2. You can file court papers on your own, either
- a Complaint for Modification or
- a Joint Petition for Modification of Child Support Judgment.
You do not need the Department of Revenue to file a complaint for you. You can ask the “Lawyer for the Day” at the courthouse to help you fill out the forms.
3. A lawyer can prepare and file your court papers.
A lawyer can prepare and file your court papers. A lawyer can also represent you in court. You might choose to get a lawyer if you think that the lawyer will do a better job than you in court. Since DOR is not your lawyer when they handle your case, you might decide to get your own lawyer for that reason.
If you are not feeling confident that the court will agree to lower your child support order, then hiring a lawyer may be the best option. A seasoned attorney will be able to fight for your modification and can offer legal advice for your specific situation.
If you are seeking legal help on a complaint to modify, please contact the Family Law attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo. We are here to help you fight for what is fair to you.
Have you ever been successful in getting the court to modify your child support mandate?