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How to modify a child support order in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2022 | Child Support

If you are a parent who is paying or receiving child support, you may need to modify your order in the future. This usually helps ensure that the support payments remain fair and meet the needs of your family.

Why would you need to modify your order?

One of the main reasons why you might need to modify your order is if there has been a  material change in circumstances, for example, if you or the other parent has lost their job. Another reason might be if the child’s needs have changed, such as if they develop a medical condition that requires extra care. Other needs might include changes in childcare costs, education expenses, extracurricular activity fees, or a significant increase in the payor’s income.

Thirdly, the child support guidelines might have changed in your state, which would require a modification to the order. Lastly, you might simply need to modify the order because it is no longer working for your family and you want to try something different.

Which steps can you take to modify your order?

If you want to modify your current child support order, you will need to file a Complaint for Modification with the court, if there is a material change in circumstances. You will then need to serve the Complaint for Modification on the other parent and give them notice of the hearing. Once you have done this, you will need to attend the hearing and present your case to the judge.

If you and the other parent agree on the modification, you can simply submit your agreement to the Probate and Family Court for approval. However, if you do not agree, you will need to present your evidence to the judge and they will make a decision on the modification. It is important to note that you cannot modify a child support order on your own, you must go through the court process in order to do so.

If the other parent does not pay the child support that they are ordered to, there are a few things that you can do. Firstly, you can contact your local child support enforcement agency and they can help you collect the payments. Secondly, you can file a contempt of court action against the other parent. This means that you would go to court and ask the judge to find the other parent in contempt of court for not paying child support.