Change My Order
A change in a court order is called a modification. Either parent can request that the Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services (SCDCSS) review his or her child support case for modification. Generally, a modification must be based upon a "substantial change of circumstances" since the last order was made by the court.
Examples of a change in circumstances include:
- A change in primary custody (who the child lives with most of the time)
- A significant change in visitation regarding the supported child
- A significant change in the income of either parent
- Incarceration of the Person Paying Support (PPS)
- The PPS starts receiving General Relief (GR), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veteran’s Benefits
- Military deployment (see Military for more information)
When a Person Receiving Support (PRS) or Person Paying Support (PPS) requests modification, SCDCSS sends a modification packet to both parents requesting information about each parent’s financial status and various other factors that affect child support. SCDCSS will determine if asking the court for a modification is appropriate based on the financial and other information provided.
If a modification is appropriate, both parties will be informed of the decision. SCDCSS will file the necessary papers with the court to set a court hearing unless the parties can agree to the support amount ahead of time. If an agreement is reached, a stipulation must be filed with the court. When the judicial officer signs the form, it becomes a court order. If an agreement is not reached ahead of time, the case will go to court and the judicial officer will decide the amount of support. At the court hearing, the amount of the child support order may be either increased or decreased, or the judge may deny the motion to modify. Parents also have the option of requesting a modification directly from the court. For more information about filing your own request for modification, contact the Office of the Family Law Facilitator.
Important: Until an order for child support is modified, the PPS is required to pay the child support amount in the existing order. Contact Us if there is a change in circumstances.
- You may submit a request online. Quick and easy interactive web-based process that guides you through the process of preparing your request and electronically submits the forms needed in order to conduct a modification review. By using the online request process, you can be kept informed on the status of your request.
- When requesting a modification of your existing order, you must complete an Income & Expense Declaration. Here is the link to the form, Income & Expense Declaration. You will need to complete, print this document and mail. Once completed, send the signed, completed application and all forms (including Income & Expense Declaration) to:
Stanislaus County Child Support Services Department
P.O. Box 4189
Modesto, CA 95352-4189
- You may call our Customer Contact Center at (866) 901-3212.
- Or you may request a modification review in person at our office.
The review and modification should be completed within six months; however, this may vary according to court scheduling.
If both parties want to agree to a child support amount contact us at (866) 901-3212 to review to possibly complete a stipulation to modify the order.
- Income & Expense Declaration and:
Any supporting documentation such as but not limited to:
- Proof of income
- Custody & visitation orders
- Child care verification form
- Visitation verification form
- Any other documentation of change of circumstance
See Going to Court for information on court hearings and what to expect.
Your new support obligation and the date it starts will be stated in the order. Sometimes your new support amount begin on the first of the month after the date the motion was filed with the court.
You are not required to have an attorney for this process but you always have the right to hire private counsel.
Going to Court
In Stanislaus County, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) hearings are held in Department 15 of the Stanislaus County Superior Court located at 800 11th Street, in Modesto, California. Law and motion calendars start at 8:30 am or 1:30 pm. Please be on time. If you are not in the courtroom on time, your case could be resolved without input, or your hearing could be cancelled.
Attorneys from DCSS appear in the public interest but do not represent either parent or the child. There is no attorney-client relationship with either parent or with the child per Family Code §17406. Most parties are not represented by an attorney, however, parties are welcome to find their own attorneys to represent them even if they have a case with DCSS. If you do obtain an attorney to represent you for child support, please let us know.
In court, the Child Support Services attorney will often present factors agreed upon by the parties and frame the contested issues for the Court at the hearing. The parents or their attorneys can supplement those issues as needed. This process often reduces the time required for a hearing by focusing on only the contested issues. Each side is then allowed to produce evidence regarding their positions. The Court Commissioner may ask questions to obtain additional information needed. Most hearings are usually short, under fifteen minutes.
800 11th Street
Modesto, CA 95354
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Typically, you may bring anyone you wish to the hearing with you*, however, minors will not be permitted in the courtroom. If you are unable to find childcare, and bringing a minor with you is necessary for you to attend, you may be asked to sit with them in the hallway until your case is called.
Spouses, significant others, friends, family members, etc. will not be allowed to accompany you while being interviewed by a child support attorney or child support officer. They are welcome to sit with you in the audience, but due to confidentiality, are not permitted to have access to information regarding a child support case.
* Due to COVID-19, the number of persons entering the courthouse must be limited in order to meet social distancing requirements per public health guidelines. Please read the Public Notice, effective as of June 1, 2020.
Child support hearings are held in Department 15, located on the first floor of the courthouse. Please see map below.
Roll call in Department 15 begins at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm each day, Monday-Thursday. Please allow yourself enough time to park and be screened by security before your hearing begins. If you are running late, be sure to check in with the bailiff or court clerk upon your arrival to the courtroom.
While court sessions begin at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm, this does not mean that is when your hearing will take place. Please be prepared to stay for multiple hours. If you have questions regarding your hearing, you may reach out to your child support case manager, or call 1 (866) 901-3212.
In court, a new Guideline Calculation will be ran. In order to get the most accurate representation of your current circumstances, please bring: updated paystubs, Disability or Unemployment Benefit information, copy of current taxes (if self-employed or requested), a Child Custody order (if applicable), completed Income and Expense Declaration (if not previously returned to DCSS), receipts for childcare expenses (if applicable), and any other documentation requested by DCSS or the court. *
* On June 22, 2020, the Court adopted Emergency Rule ER-1.02, which requires all persons entering a court facility to wear a face covering. The rule applies to all courthouses in the county and is effective immediately. Anyone who is unable to wear a mask can request an accommodation by submitting a Request for Accommodation form (MC-410) to the Court’s ADA Coordinator. More information about the ADA procedure is located at https://www.stanct.org/ada-information. Emergency Rule 1.02 is set forth here [https://stanct.org/node/4118725]
Parties who are unable to physically attend a hearing may request to appear telephonically. Upon request, the court, in its discretion, may permit a telephone appearance in any hearing or conference related to an action for child support. Requests must be made 12 court calendar days prior to your hearing.
Exceptions – a telephone appearance is not permitted for any of the following:
- Contested trials, contempt hearings, orders of examination, and any matters in which the party or witness has been subpoenaed to appear in person
- Any hearing or conference for which the court, in its discretion on a case-by-case basis, decides that a personal appearance would materially assist in a determination of the proceeding of in resolution of the case
- Cases in which the identity of the person appearing by telephone is in question or cannot be verified
Hearings are not rescheduled, however you may request a continuance. If a continuance is needed, you will need to contact DCSS prior to the hearing date and provide reason you are unable to attend, as well as, desired continuance date. There is no guarantee that the judge will grant a continuance, and the court may decide to proceed without you. If you have requested a continuance, you will need to call the court at (209) 530-3100 on the morning of your hearing, and advise that you will not be in attendance.
Child care is not available through Stanislaus County Courts. Please arrange to have childcare for the day of your hearing. If child care is not available, you will be able to sit with the children in the hallway. However, minors are not permitted in the courtroom.
After the completion of your hearing you will receive a copy of your new child support order. Once you have received this copy you may leave.
If a new child support obligation was ordered, the new order will be sent to Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services (SCDCSS). The billing amount will be updated in the SCDCSS system and a new Income Withholding Order will issue. This process can take up to 45 days before the first payment is received. It is the responsibility of the person ordered to pay support to make payments. Payments can be made online, by phone, in person, and through money gram or money order.