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Understand the Process of Modifying Your Child Support to Have a Successful Outcome

Drew Duncan
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan and Cole, LLP

Once your divorce was finalized, you may have felt relief that it was over. However, if you have children, you may need to go back to court sometime after this to ask that your child support be modified. This could be due to a reduction in your income caused by a job loss or change, a change in parenting time with your children, or a change in your ex-spouse’s financial circumstances.

How the Process of Modifying Your Child Support Order Works in South Dakota

In order to modify a child support order, you must meet certain conditions under South Dakota law. You must establish that:

  • The child support order you are modifying was signed by the judge at least three years before your petition to modify it; or
  • You can show a substantial change of circumstances since the order you are modifying was entered.

If your situation falls within these requirements, you will need to follow the procedures for asking for a change in your child support.  The process includes the following:

  • File a Petition for Modification. This court form is located at local court clerk offices. You will need to complete the form, a financial statement, and verification of income. These documents will need to be filed with the South Dakota Department of Social Services, who will review it and forward it to the court clerk where the divorce was finalized.
  • Pay the filing fee. You will need to pay the filing fee—currently $50—before the circuit court judge will refer your petition to a referee.
  • Referee conducts hearing. The referee will conduct the hearing on your petition, and it may be by telephone. The hearing usually is within 30 days of when you filed your petition. The referee could have parties—including you—testify. You must be present at this hearing or the petition could be dismissed.
  • Referee makes decision. The referee will prepare a report and recommended order for support and file it with the court. The referee will usually complete this within 60 days of your hearing.
  • Filing objections. You will receive a copy of the referee report and recommended order. If you disagree with it, you can file objections within 10 days of the date of the report and order. The circuit court judge would schedule a hearing for arguments on your objections.
  •  Modification order entered. If there are no objections to the referee’s decision, the judge will enter the recommended order. If there were objections, the judge will make a decision on the amount of child support and enter an order that will be mailed to you and your former spouse.

If you need to modify your child support, call our experienced legal team at 888-733-2992 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.


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