Change an order

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 or a private attorney to help you with your order, or you can do it yourself. If you need help deciding which option is right for you, please see the Court Assistance Office web site.

Why should a child support order change?

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. Child Support Services can help you through the process of changing a child support order to:
  • Increase or decrease the monthly child support amount by more than 15 percent or $50; and/or
  • 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 multiple children are on an order and one or more of the children no longer live with a parent, a child turns 19-years-old, or graduates from high school.
When changing a support order, Child Support services will also include in the change request that a parent provides medical insurance coverage when coverage is available through an employer.

If you would like other issues addressed in the child support order, such as custody or visitation, you may choose to hire a private attorney or do it yourself.

How can I request a review?

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, please let a case manager know why you think a modification may be appropriate for your situation. You can reach Child Support Services by calling 1-800-356-9868.

What happens when I request a review?

When an order is requested to be reviewed, 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 signed Limited Services Agreement, you and the other parent receive a letter requesting information about 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 gathers information and suggests changes to the child support order based on the parents' current situation.

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.

What happens if I do not return the paperwork within 30 days?

If you requested to have your case reviewed to change your court order and fail to return your paperwork, Child Support Services does not pursue changing your order.

If the other parent requested to change the order and you fail to return the paperwork, the process to modify the order continues.

Do I have to go to court to change my order?

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 you do not agree with the suggested changes, you may contest the changes by filing an answer with the court. You can hire a private attorney to help you, or file this on your own with documents available on the Court Assistance page. A court date will be set, and a judge then decides if the changes should be made to the order. This process may take up to a few months.

If you do not file an answer or come to the hearing, the judge will sign an order based on the suggested changes.

How is the 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 (if both parent agree), and the child tax credit are all considered in determining a child support amount.

What does it cost to change my order?

Because changing a child support order involves attorneys and courts, Child Support Services must charge for legal services. The legal cost for modifying an order varies depending on the legal actions required, but 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 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.

For a full list of legal fees, see Child Support Fees.