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How to Change Your Child Support Order

How to Change Your Child Support Order

If you believe that your child support order is too low (or too high), this article may help. You can get help from the state Child Support Program or do it on your own. First, to find out if this booklet can help, please answer these questions:

1. Can a court in Connecticut change the order?

  • Pamphlet cover imageWas your child support ordered by a Connecticut court?
  • Does the other parent live in Connecticut?

If you answered NO to EITHER question, then STOP. This article is not for you. For information on how to change an out-of-state child support order, call the Child Support Call Center at 1-800-228-KIDS (5437).

If you answered YES to both questions, please CONTINUE.

2. Is there a reason to change the order?

  • Has your income changed very much (either up or down?)
  • Has the cost of taking care of your child changed very much?
  • Is your support order at least 15% higher or lower than the amount required by the child support guidelines?

If you answered NO to ALL the questions, this article is not for you.

If you answered YES to a least one question, then keep reading. This article will give you the steps to ask for a change.

Asking for A Change On Your Own

It may seem like a lot of work, but asking for a change in your child support order is really just a set of smaller steps. The steps are:

1. Gather the proper forms

2. Fill out the forms

3. File the forms with the court

4. Get the papers “served” (officially delivered)

5. Gather information for your hearing

6. Go to court for your hearing

You may also want to read the Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines and the Judicial Branch pamphlet, What Happens When You Go to Family Support Magistrate Court.

STEP 1: Gather the forms

You need these forms for a modification:

• Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174)
Used to ask the court to change your order.

• Appearance form (JD-CL-12)
Used to make sure you get notices from the court.

• Application for Waiver of Fees (JD-FM-75)
Used if your income is very low and you want to ask the court to pay the fees and costs.

• Financial Affidavit (JD-FM-6)
Used to show how much money you have coming in, and how you spend it.

• Affidavit Concerning Children (JD-FM-164)
This form asks where your child has lived and if other court cases relate to this case.

You can get the court forms:

  • Online from the Judicial Branch website.

The website also has a "How To" section for Modifications.

  • At the courthouse from the Court Clerk’s Office or a Court Service Center.

The Court Service Centers also have staff that can help you fill out the forms and answer questions about how the process works.

STEP 2: Fill out the forms

Sit down in a quiet place and read all the forms so you have an idea of the information needed. After you have read each of them once, start filling them in.

If you have any questions about what the form is asking for, you can ask the staff at a Court Service Center in the courthouse (after clearing the metal detector, ask the Judicial Marshal for directions). The Court Service Center staff can answer basic questions about the forms and help you complete them right the first time. The staff cannot tell you what words to use in your court papers.

STEP 3: File the forms with the court (give the forms to the court clerk)

Take your forms to the Court Clerk’s Office. The Clerk will fill in the time and date for the hearing (your court date) and sign the “order for notice and summons” on the Motion for Modification and return it to you. You will need a State Marshal to serve the court forms on the other party. Give the Clerk the Application for Waiver of Fees if you think that you cannot afford the State Marshal fees.

STEP 4: Get the papers "served" (officially delivered)

A State Marshal must "serve" the papers to the other parent. You can get a list of State Marshals from the Clerk’s Office or the Court Service Center. If your fees were waived, then the State will pay the Marshal; otherwise, you must pay. After the Marshal delivers the motion to the other party, he will give you back the original paperwork. You must return this to the Court Clerk with the filing fee or the Application for Waiver of Fees if your fees were already waived by the court.

STEP 5: Gather information for your hearing

At this point, your motion has been served and you are waiting for your court hearing. You will need to fill out the Financial Affidavit form before your hearing. Gather your pay stubs and bills and use them to fill out the Financial Affidavit. The Financial Affidavit gives the court a detailed summary of all your income, assets and bills.

It is a good idea to bring the following things with you to your court hearing:

  • Your pay stubs from the last 13 weeks,
  • Information on any benefits you get (for example, Social Security benefits, SAGA cash assistance or Unemployment Compensation), and
  • Proof of any medical reasons that may be keeping you from working.

You can find more information on what to bring in the Judicial Branch pamphlet, What Happens When You Go To Family Support Magistrate Court.

STEP 6: Go to court for your hearing

The best way to understand what your hearing may be like is to read the Judicial Branch pamphlet, What Happens When You Go To Family Support Magistrate Court. This pamphlet answers many common questions.

Getting Help from the State Child Support Program to Change Your Order

If your court order is being enforced by Support Enforcement Services (SES), then you are part of the State of Connecticut Child Support Program. If so, there is another way to get your order changed. If you ask SES, they will gather income information to see if your order may need a change. If it looks like it needs to be changed, SES will prepare the forms and tell you the court date.

For more information, call the Child Support Call Center at 1-800-228-KIDS (5437).

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

Not from Connecticut?

Most of the information on this web site is for Connecticut residents only.
Visit LawHelp.org to find a legal services program and/or a legal information web site in your area.