Ask A Divorce Lawyer: How do I find the procedure for self-filing a modification of child support?


I am divorced, unemployed since April, but have kept up-to-date on child support of $725 a month. I have two children, a 23-year-old non-student and a 19-year-old high school student. How do I find the procedure for self-filing a modification of the child support plan?



Although I am licensed to practice law in Michigan, Cordell & Cordell, P.C. does have an office in Memphis, Tennessee, and I strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney formally because I can only give you general information. You should not rely upon this information as creating an attorney-client relationship.


Generally, your support obligation terminates when your children reach adulthood. That your children are over age 18 suggests to me that you are paying past due support, i.e. arrears. If so, then your options for reducing the payment amount are limited. Most states restrict the extent you can retroactively modify the support order. You may have a good argument to discharge your arrears or to enter a payment plan depending on the facts of your case.

Courts are more likely to modify support and/or the payment plan and/or discharge arrears if the payor’s financial circumstances change (e.g., if you lose your job). The modification and discharge criteria vary by state. You should consult with an attorney in your area to discuss what options, if any, you have based on the particular orders and facts in your case.   



Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.


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