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How to Modify Child Support

Child support is not meant to be static. Just like incomes are expected to increase over time, so too is child support. Conversely, if you are experiencing tough times, you're going to want to reduce child support. This article will help you understand how to modify child support.

How to Start

In order to get child support changed, you will need to request a change from the court. You can do this either through a motion or a petition. Motions are cheaper and faster, but are only available under certain circumstances.

Motion or Petition?

Motions are preferable to petitions because there is no filing fee, you don't need to wait for the opposing side to answer, nor do you need to engage in discovery. The process of a motion can be handled in less than a month. In order to qualify for a motion to modify child support, the following must be true:
  1. At least 3 years have passed since the last order;
  2. There is either a 10% increase or decrease in one parties' income;
  3. The change is not temporary; and
  4. You have used the Utah Child Support Calculator to calculate child support and you are asking for support consistent with that calculator.
Petitions are necessary in all other cases. For instance, if it has been more than 3 years, but you're looking for child support that is not consistent with the guidelines, you need to file a petition. If it has been less than three years since the order of child support and you need a change, you must be able to show there was a material change.

Change Child Support Within 3 Years of the Order

When you need to change child support under 3 years, you need to show the court that there was a material change in circumstances. There are many ways to show this, including a change in custody or a difference of 30% in a parent's income.
Once you have a material change, that material change must result in a difference of 15% of the child support currently ordered.

The Next Steps

After you have identified whether you need a petition or motion, you need to file it with the court. If you've filed a petition, you'll need to serve it on your ex. See this article for more information on service.
You may need to conduct discovery to get the proof you need to show your ex's income has increased. For more guidance, give us a call!

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