Request Relief

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Assistance filing a motion for relief (Rhode Island Residents)

If your case is currently receiving services from the Office of Child Support Services, and you are a resident of Rhode Island, you may request a modification (defined as a decrease or suspension) of your support order. OCSS can help provide you with your request for modification, this is called a "Motion for Relief".

  • The first step to consider, if you are asking for a modification (decrease or suspension), is the reason you think a modification of your child support order might be appropriate. Common reasons for relief are: the youngest child is now emancipated and no past due support is owed, your income has changed, you are now unemployed, have started to receive disability payments, public assistance, or you are currently incarcerated. Another reason is your health care coverage for your child is no longer available.
  • The second step is to consider what the court might order for child support. In Rhode Island, the court uses the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of a child support order. Every four years a committee reviews and discusses the State Guidelines. The Rhode Island Guidelines have recently been updated for 2017. The Guidelines consider several factors including:
    • Both parents' income and their ability to earn income
    • Number of children
    • Cost of health care coverage (medical & dental) for the children
    • Costs for calculating issues relating to child care expenses
    • Other deductions

You can look to the Guidelines for an idea of how much child support the court might order by viewing this link. RI Child Support Guidelines

The court may decrease your child support order, suspend your order, or make no change at all. We recommend you check the guideline calculation worksheet to see if a modification would be considered at present.

For assistance with filing a Motion for Relief please submit a completed Non-Custodial Parent Request for Relief Form to our Community Outreach Liaison or you can mail the completed form to:

Office of Child Support Services
ATT: Chalechia Campinha
77 Dorrance Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Note: If you are a parent who pays child support and you are incarcerated, do not follow these instructions. Send us an email at Community Outreach Liaison or send a letter to this address requesting a package specific to your needs.

Office of Child Support Services
ATT: Chalechia Campinha
77 Dorrance Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Here is what to expect once the completed request is received and reviewed by a Child Support Representative:

If OCSS agrees that a modification of the child support / medical support order might be allowed, we will complete the remaining necessary steps. OCSS will generate and electronically file your Motion for Relief, obtain the assigned court date from Rhode Island Family Court, and serve/notify the other parent. If there is any cost to serve/notify the other parent, OCSS will pay that cost. It may take several days before OCSS receives the court date that the Family Court assigns. Anticipate one to two months before a Judge / Magistrate hears the motion filed. Notification and required forms needed for your hearing will also be sent to you. Please bring these documents filled out and completed with you, on the scheduled court date. The Judge / Magistrate will need to review these documents before a decision on your motion is made.

If OCSS does not agree that a modification might be appropriate, OCSS will return the forms to you with a "Notice of Rejection". This letter will specify the reason(s) your request is being rejected by OCSS. Should you decide to proceed to file the motion without the help of OCSS, instructions will also be provided. Please remember: If you choose to go forward, you will have to file the forms required by the Rhode Island Family Court for the modification/relief motion on your own. Usually, this is done over the counter at Family Court. The Court Clerk will assign you a court date once your request is reviewed. It is then your responsibility to provide service/notification for the other parent – you will be required to pay any cost of service to that parent (if applicable). No assistance from OCSS will be provided.

If it is determined that a modification might be appropriate, but the location of the other parent is unknown, we will try to locate the other parent. We will proceed with the modification or Motion for Relief once the other parent is located.

If it is determined that a modification might be appropriate, but a Rhode Island Family Court does not have the authority to modify your order, we will send a request to the state that can modify the order.

Filing a motion for relief on your own

If you do not want the help of OCSS, you can file a Motion for Relief as a self-represented litigant or by yourself directly with the RI Family Court. If you decide on this option then OCSS will not be responsible for serving the forms, will not pay the cost of service, and will not schedule the hearing for you. The appropriate paperwork can be obtained at the RI Family Court Clerk's Office at One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island, 02903.

The court will require some sort of evidence (documentation or testimony) about a parent's ability to pay. Examples of these documents include:

  • Orders to report for military duty;
  • Paystubs, bank statements, or income tax returns;
  • A court order giving you custody of the children;
  • Verification that you are providing medical insurance coverage;
  • Proof of unemployment benefits;
  • Workers' Compensation award letters;
  • Proof of public assistance benefits; or
  • Medical documentation

If OCSS is assisting you when you go to court, our staff attorney will appear at the court hearing and provide the court with any information we have about the income and assets of both parents. OCSS does not represent either parent. Our goal is to ensure that the child support order is consistent with the parent's ability to pay utilizing the Child Support Guidelines.

Please Note: The form that is filled out with the court includes your address, and it will be delivered to the other parent. You must notify OCSS if you want your address protected from the other parent, or if you have safety concerns related to the other parent, and moving forward with a modification could create a safety risk to you or your children

Out-of-state non-custodial parent requesting a motion for relief

If a Rhode Island Court Order requires a modification or change, OCSS can assist you. You must be the non–custodial parent and live out of state.

Beginning during the pandemic, the Rhode Island Family Court began to hear cases virtually. Today, this practice continues, and there are a limited number of in-person hearings scheduled at this time. Most Child Support cases are conducted through WebEx Video Conferencing or by telephone, using an access code for the courtroom where the hearing is assigned on the assigned hearing date and time.

Out-of-state non-custodial parents do not need to fill out a telephonic hearing request packet any longer. They will need to contact their assigned child support representative to determine if they qualify for a Motion for Relief. If you are eligible, the OCSS will file the motion on your behalf. When the hearing date has been assigned, you will be notified of the date and time for the court hearing. At that time, you will also receive the WebEx and Telephone information so that you can participate in your court hearing.

You can read more about participating in your assigned hearing via WebEx or Telephonically here.