Child support orders exist to provide financial support for children based on their needs and the abilities of their parents. They are not ever final orders because needs and circumstances can change over time. For this reason, the state allows parents to request modifications to their orders. 

The Tennessee Department of Human Services explains that child support modification requests are the right of both parents. Requests for a review mean an official looks over the original order and circumstance to determine if the requested alterations appropriately reflect changes in the lives of the parents or children. 

Reasons for a modification

Either parent may request a modification after experiencing something that affects income or expenses. A common reason for modification is a change in employment or earnings. However, other reasons include new medical needs or care for the child and the birth of a new child. For the most part, if the information the court used to make the order initially changes in any way, then it could be grounds for a modification. 

Requesting a modification

A parent may ask for an adjustment in child support any time there is a change in personal circumstances. Still, a caseworker may not review the case if there is not sufficient evidence of such a change and there has already been a modification within the last two years. To alter a child support order, the circumstances must be significant enough to impact the payments by at least 15%. 

If the caseworker determines there may be a significant change in the case, then he or she will request that both parents complete an Affidavit of Income and Expenses. This provides the information the worker needs to make a proper determination about modifying the order. The final review of the case may take place at the Department of Human Services where a caseworker makes the decision or in by a court where a judge makes the determination.