Most child support orders in North Dakota are based upon the financial situation and income of the payor spouse. Contrary to the expectation of many parents, the court’s order for child support is not immutable. If the financial conditions of the payor spouse change, the terms of the child support may also change.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services, through its Child Support Agency, will generally review child support orders every 18 months after the order has been entered. Either parent may submit a request for review. Parents who share custody must complete and submit a Financial Affidavit and Contact Information form to Child Support Services at the same time as the request for review is submitted.
Generally, the amount of support is based upon the income and finances of the parent who has been ordered to pay support to the other parent. The review of the child support order is conducted according to the child support guidelines in the North Dakota Administrative Code. When the review has been completed, each parent and their attorneys will receive a written notice of the results of the review. Either or both parents have the opportunity to submit their agreement or disagreement with the result. The decision of the Child Support Agency may be challenged in court by a parent who disagrees with the outcome.
Challenging the outcome of the review of a child support order can become complex because proving changed circumstances is not easy. Anyone who thinks that the terms of their child support order are unfair – the payor spouse may believe the payments are too big or the payee spouse may feel the payments are too small – can challenge the review in court. Such cases ordinarily require the assistance of an attorney, and a consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer prior to beginning the challenge can provide assistance in assembling evidence or understanding the likelihood of a favorable outcome.