All states in the United States adopted child support guidelines and worksheets used to determine the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent in cases of divorce, legal separation and paternity. A change in the circumstances of one or both parents, or of the child, can require a modification in the child support being paid. Oftentimes a court requires a legal memorandum supporting a requested change in child support. Employing specific strategies assist in making such a memo more effective.
Obtain a copy of both the child support guidelines and a child support worksheet from the clerk of the court where the original child support order was issued.
Calculate a revised child support obligation based on existing wage or salary information from you and the other parent on the child support worksheet. Most states require the resulting support obligation to be at least a 15 percent difference from what currently is ordered by the court. In other words, the support payment requirement must be 15 percent more or less than the amount established in the existing court order.
Caption the memo designed to support your request for a child support obligation "Memorandum in Support of Motion to Modify Child Support."
Insert the caption from the case involving the child support issue on the memo. Add the case number as well.
Insert a section in the memo entitled "Facts." List the basic facts supporting the requested modification of child support. For example, if a parent obtained a significant pay increase, this information is included in this section of the memo.
Add another section to the memo entitled "Argument and Authorities." In this portion of the memo, reference the calculations you made on the child support worksheet. Additionally, cite the section of the child support guidelines that support your request for modification of the child support obligation. For example, note the section of the guidelines that permit a decrease in child support if a parent experienced a wage decrease that resulted in a 15 percent reduction on the potential obligation on the worksheet.
Sign the memo once completed.
Obtain a standard form motion to modify child support from the clerk of the court. Fill in the basic information requested on the motion form. The court clerk provides instruction for completion of the form.
Attach the memo to modify child support and the child support worksheet to the motion.
File the motion, memo and worksheet with the clerk of the court.
- Modifying child support involves complicated laws and procedures. Therefore, if you desire to alter an existing child support order, consider engaging the services of an experienced attorney. Local and state bar associations maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas. Contact information for these organizations is available through the American Bar Association at:
- American Bar Association
- 321 N. Clark St.
- Chicago, IL 60654-7598
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