This information is to help you if you need to change a Department of Health Human Services (DHHS) Child Support Order. If a Court ordered you to pay child support, this information will not help you. Go here for our guide on How To: Change or Enforce Your Maine Divorce or Parental Rights Order.
If your order is at least 3 years old and your financial situation has changed, you can ask for a review of the amount of support even if the change is not very big. If your order is less than 3 years old, you can ask for a review of your order due to "substantial change of circumstances." "Substantial" means that there will be at least a 15% change in the amount you pay. For example, you were earning $20,000 per year two years ago when DHHS gave its first order. Now, you have been laid off and get only $150 per week unemployment insurance, or you have gone back to work at a job that pays only $16,000 per year.
DHHS will only change the amount of support from the date it gets your request for a change. So do not delay. The sooner you send your request, the sooner the new order will take effect.
Step One: Print this form and fill it out. Be sure to sign it and put the support enforcement ID# at the bottom. This number will be on any child support notice DHHS has sent you.
Step Two: Make a copy of your request.
Step Three: Mail your request to DHHS. Use the address at the top of the form notice.
Step Four: On your copy of the request, write down the date you mailed the original to DHHS.
If you think that DHHS's earlier order was wrong, you may also be able to get that order set aside. For example, assume DHHS gave an order six months ago saying that you owe $100 per week. You were unemployed, had no income and could not find work. But you did not go to the earlier hearing because you didn't think it would help. Or you thought the order was wrong but you did not appeal.
If the order is less than one year old, you can send a "Request to Set Aside a DHHS Support Order." If the old order is set aside, you would not have to make these back payments. A new order would set the correct amount owed for that back period.
For any order that is more than one year old, you can get the amount of your child support changed prospectively only. It will not set aside the back amounts you were previously ordered to pay.
DHHS will send you a notice telling you the date, time and place of the hearing.
To get ready for the hearing: Be ready to explain what has changed since the last hearing to require a change in the support order.
Bring any written proof you have of your income or other facts you want to bring up at hearing.
DHHS sets the support according to set income guidelines. The amount is calculated based on what your income is and what the other parent's income is. Some expenses, like child care and extraordinary medical expenses for the child, are also counted.
You may want to talk to your DHHS child support worker to find out what your order should be based on your current income. If you reach an agreement, before you dismiss your hearing request, be sure that:
You can do your own child support calculation. Click here for our information telling you how to calculate your own child support. That page includes a link to an online self-calculating form.) You can also get information on preparing for a DHHS hearing, and knowing what DHHS can do to collect. Or you can contact Pine Tree Legal Assistance for more information.
You still have the right to have an administrative hearing if you do not agree with the DHHS worker's decision.
Find more information on the
DHHS Support Enforcement & Recovery Home Page
Maine Child Support Enforcement Manual
Rules the State must follow in administering the child support program