Each child support order is carefully determined with a child’s best interest in mind. However, as time passes, circumstances change, and it may become necessary to change your child support order.
In Idaho, all child support orders must be signed by a judge. You can ask Child Support Services to guide you through the process of changing a child support order, you can choose to hire a private attorney, or you can do it yourself.
Reasons Why a Child Support Order Should Change
Child Support Services can help you through the process of changing a child support order to:
- Require a parent to provide medical insurance coverage when the coverage is available through an employer;
- Increase or decrease the monthly child support amount by more than 15 percent, but by at least $50; and
- Indicate how much a parent must pay for each child, if the previous order listed only a total child support obligation. This is especially important when one or more of the children no longer live with the custodial parent, or if a child turns 19-years-old or graduates from high school.
If you would like other issues addressed in the child support order, you may choose to hire a private attorney or do it yourself.
How to Request a Review of Your Child Support Order
In Idaho, all changes to child support orders must be signed by a judge. To avoid unnecessary legal fees, Child Support Services reviews child support orders and parents’ current circumstances before beginning the legal process.
To request Child Support Services review your child support order, explain in writing why you believe the order should change. Mail the request to:
Idaho Child Support
P.O. Box 70008
Boise, ID 83707-0108
Unless major changes have occurred, Child Support Services will not review child support orders until it has been three years since the order was signed, changed, or last reviewed.
When You or the Other Parent Request a Review
When a review is requested, Child Support Services sends a letter to you titled Limited Services Agreement. This agreement explains the legal costs involved with changing a child support order and requires the signature of the parent requesting the review. Signing this agreement holds the parent requesting the review obligated to repay the State of Idaho for the legal costs involved in changing a child support order.
Once Child Support Services receives a request to review, and the signed Limited Services Agreement, they will send a letter to you and the other parent requesting information about your current circumstances, such as your income, how many children you support, etc. You have 30 days to provide the information to Child Support Services for the review.
When the review is complete, Child Support Services sends both parents a letter explaining the decision about whether to change the child support order.
If the review indicates the child support order should change, Child Support Services sends the case to an attorney who takes the legal actions necessary to change the court order.
If the review indicates the child support order should not change, you are not charged any fees. You still can choose to hire a private attorney to help you through the legal process of changing an order, or you can do it on your own.
The Legal Process
Child Support Services’ attorneys gather information and suggest changes to the child support order based on the parents’ current situation.
If Both Parents Agree to the Suggested Changes
If both parents agree to the suggested changes, you can both sign a stipulation (agreement). In that case, you will not need to go to court. A judge reviews the changes and signs the order.
If Parents Do Not Agree to the Suggested Changes
If both parents do not agree to the suggested changes, a court date is set, and a judge decides if changes should be made to the order. This process may take up to a few months.
If you requested the modification, a Child Support Services’ attorney will let you know if your presence is required at the court hearing. You are always welcome to come, if you wish.
If you did not request the modification and do not agree with the suggested changes, you may contest the changes at the court hearing. You can hire a private attorney to help you. If you do not come to the hearing, the judge will sign the suggested changes.
How a Child Support Amount is Determined
Child support amounts are set using Idaho Child Support Guidelines. The income of both parents, the number of children each parent supports, the cost of medical insurance premiums, and the child tax credit are all considered in determining a child support amount.
Legal Costs of Changing a Child Support Order
Because changing (modifying) a child support order involves attorneys and courts, Child Support Services must charge for legal services. The legal costs for modifying an order is $525, which is significantly less than the cost of hiring a private attorney.
If the existing order is a divorce decree, or if the State of Idaho is not a party to the existing order, additional fees up to $180 may be charged.
If the parent who pays support requests the review, payments can be made each month until the fee is paid.
If the parent who receives support requests the review, Child Support Services keeps 20 percent of each support payment until the fee is paid.