How to File for Modification of Child Support in Alabama
By Anna Assad
You may file for modification of child support anytime a change in circumstances, as defined by Alabama law, has occurred. In most cases, a change in either parent's income of more than 10 percent qualifies. Paying extraordinary expenses, such as special medical care for the child, may also merit a change in support. You can file a petition for modification in the circuit court of the Alabama county where the custodial parent lives or in the county that issued the original support order.
Gather proof of the reason for which you are requesting a modification. For example, if your lost your job and now have a lower paying job, get copies of your last four pay stubs showing your new wages.
Obtain a petition for modification, Form CS-10, and financial affidavit, Form CS-41. You may download the forms from the Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts website. Click on "Child Support," then on the appropriate forms.
Complete the modification petition. You need to include the names of both parents and children, original support order date, name and location of the issuing court and ordered support amount. State the reason modification is necessary, clearly but briefly. For example, if you lost your job, cite your job loss, what your wages were when the order was entered and what your current wages are. If your child developed a serious medical condition and you have more medical costs, cite the condition, date of diagnosis and an estimation of weekly medical expenses. Answer all questions on the petition and check any applicable boxes. Sign and date the petition.
Complete the financial affidavit. Answer all questions and make sure you disclose all your income. Don't sign the form yet.
Contact the clerk's office of the Alabama county circuit court where you're filing. Ask what the filling fees for modification are, what payment methods are accepted and what you must bring with you. Procedures vary by county.
Go to the court clerk's office. Bring the original petition, original affidavit, filing fee and proof of your change in circumstances. Attach the proof copies to the petition. Sign the affidavit in front of the clerk and ask her to notarize your signature. File the modification petition and affidavit and pay the fee. Follow any instructions from the clerk and obtain the summons. Ask for two copies of the filed petition and affidavit and a copy of the court rules. Keep one petition copy with your records.
Check the court rules for the proper service method. You may be able to serve your child's other parent by mailing him a copy of the petition and summons by certified mail with return receipt requested, or by having the parent personally served with a copy by a person over 18 who is not involved in your case. Service method varies by Alabama county.
Follow the court rules for the service method you must use. If you use certified mail, you must use the court clerk's office address for the return receipt and write your case number on the receipt. Return to the clerk's office and complete and file an affidavit of certified mail if this was the method you used. If a person over 18 served the petition, that person must complete and file a process form at the court clerk's office after serving the parent. You must serve the other parent within 120 days of filing the petition, regardless of the service method used.
Attend the hearing if the court orders one. Prepare what you're going to say to support your case before the hearing, if you plan to speak. Bring proof of your change in circumstances with you.
You and your spouse can prepare a joint modification petition to file in court if you both agree to change the support amount. If you file a joint petition, a hearing is unnecessary.
Speak to an Alabama attorney if you're unsure about changing the child support amount or filing in court.
Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.