How do I Change my Child Support Order? - HELP4TN Blog


If you’re paying child support or receiving child support with a court order, that order can be modified in some cases. 


Child Support Factors Often Change


A judge sets child support based on many factors, including:

  • each parent’s income, from jobs and other income sources
  • the number of days each parent is spending with the child
  • other children that each parent cares for

Over time, these things might change.  A parent may get laid off from their job, get a new job, or get a raise.  Alternatively, the custody or visitation situation may change, resulting in a change to the number of days each parent is spending with the child. A parent may also have a new child to take care of. In situations like these, a parent can request a modification of their child support obligation.    


15% Rule


Under Tennessee law, you can request a modification whenever there is a 15% difference between the current child support order and the proposed child support.  This is called a significant variance.  You can learn more about calculating your new child support obligation at the Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Support Calculator.


How to Request a Modification


A modification can be requested by (1) contacting your local Child Support office, (2) going to court where your order is located and filing the required paperwork, or (3) hiring a private attorney.


If your local Child Support office handles the modification there will be no cost to you. If you go to court and file the required paperwork yourself or hire a private attorney there might be costs such as attorney fees, filing fee, printing, mailing, and service fees.


When requesting a modification you may be asked to provide:

  • Income and expense information
  • Copies of your other child support orders
  • Copies of recent paycheck stubs and income tax returns
  • Proof of health insurance costs for your child(ren)
  • Copies of birth certificates of all the children living in your home (that you are legally responsible for)
  • Proof of disability

For more information, check out this brochure on Child Support Modifications by the Tennessee Department of Human Services.


Click here to find your nearest child support office in Tennessee

Click here to print the Application For Child Support Services, or fill it out online here.

This blog is not legal advice, but it is legal information to help you learn about your rights. Need more help? The HELP4TN free legal helpline has attorneys ready to answer your questions. Give us a call at 844-435-7486.

Last updated on .

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