Q) After I pay my child support, I don’t even have enough money for a place to live. When my child support order was set, I was making about $300 a month more than I am now. Can I get the order changed?
A) Either parent can request a review and adjustment, if appropriate, of a child support obligation at least every 36 months, or sooner if there has been a substantial change in circumstances such as reduced income of the obligated parent or a change in medical support provisions. Check with your child support office to see if your child support obligation is in line with state guidelines and ask how to request a review. If your case does not meet the state’s standards for review, either because the order has been reviewed within your state’s review period or the change in income is smaller than would merit an adjustment under state standards, you may still be able to petition the court for a hearing. In this case, it may be helpful to have the services of an attorney. Your local legal aid society may be able to advise you about finding low-cost counsel if you cannot afford a private attorney.
Also, a number of states have information about how to handle your case pro se (a legal term for representing yourself) to have the courts determine if your support obligation should be changed. Contact your local child support office or the clerk of the court for more information. In addition, some courts and child support offices
partner with employment programs and other agencies to provide employment services to noncustodial parents who are struggling to make ends meet and support their children. Again,
contact your local child support office.