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The reasons and whys of seeking a modification of child support

Many parents may believe that, once an order for the financial well-being of minor children has been determined, the matter has been settled once and for all. However, it is possible to request a modification of child support if circumstances warrant. Parents in Massachusetts who are struggling to make their support payments or who believe that the ordered amount is not adequate may be interested in learning more.

Either parent can ask a judge to review the child support order as long as the petitioning parent can show proof of just cause for a re-consideration. If a parent can show that he or she has experienced a permanent change in financial circumstances, a judge may order a review of the situation. The burden of proof, though, is on the parent asking for the modification. For instance, if the parent who is making the payments has suffered a job change or loss and is now making substantially less per year, as long as the individual can show through documentation that the standing order is now a hardship, a judge may be inclined to review the proof.

Conversely, the parent receiving the support may request a review if he or she can show that the supporting parent has realized a substantial increase in income that is expected to be permanent. A review may also be requested if one of the parties has suffered a serious and likely permanent disability or illness that may require an adjustment in court-ordered support. The best place to start is to ensure that the parent's beliefs can be proved through sound reasoning and possible documentation.

The process to request a modification of child support begins with the filing of a formal request and the collection of documents to support the request. The decision to entertain a review will rest with the judge, but it is up to the parent to show just cause to do so. Families in Massachusetts that have questions about making such a request or have questions concerning similar issues can seek more information from resources in the state that can provide assistance.

Source:, "Your Legal Corner: Modification of a child support order", Victoria M. Dalton, June 22, 2014

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