Update a child support order because you were confined

You can ask the court to update your child support order so it says you don't owe support for the time you were incarcerated or confined.

Before you start

Check if you qualify 

If you haven't already, find out about when you don't owe child support if you are incarcerated or confined. In general, it's for if you're in jail, prison, or a mental health facility for more than 90 days.

For more help, talk to the Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center in your county court. They offer free information about child support. You can also read more in Family Code section 4007.5

How to ask the court to change your back support

  • Get proof of your confinement

    You will need to prove to the judge that you were confined against your will for longer than 90 days.

    For example, you can:

  • Fill out forms and make copies

    You will need to ask the court to change what you owe in support (called back support or arrears). 

    Fill out two forms: 

    Make 2 sets of copies (including your proof of confinement).

  • File your forms

    To file your forms with the court:

    • Give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk  

    • Pay a $60 fee (unless you’ve gotten a fee waiver

    There may be other fees. For example, if you’re also asking to change child custody or visitation.  

    If these are the first papers you’ve filed in the case, there will be a $435-$450 “first paper” filing fee. If you can't afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver

    The clerk will: 

    • Stamp the forms 

    • Write a hearing date on the Request for Order form 

    • Keep the original form and return the copies to you 

    A judge will make a decision about your request at the hearing. 

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail your original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you do not include a self-addressed, stamped envelope you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.  

    Some courts allow online filing (called e-file). You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website.  

  • Serve request and prepare for your court date

    Have someone deliver your request to other parent by the deadline. 

    Once you get back the file-stamped papers, you need to have someone mail or hand-deliver a copy to the other parent. They must mail it by a deadline and then sign a form that gets filed with the court proving it was delivered (a proof of service).

    Get step-by-step instructions on how to select a server, calculate your deadline, and file a proof of service.

    Get ready for your court date. 

    At least a few weeks before your court date, start to prepare and find out what to expect.

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