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5 Situations Where Modification of a Child Support Order in Connecticut May be Necessary

When a court issues a child support order, you are legally bound to follow its rules. Even so, your situation can change at any time, making it impractical or inappropriate to continue following the child support order in its current form. If you’re a paying parent, you cannot simply stop paying child support, even if you don’t have the funds. You can, however, apply for a modification.

If your child support was ordered by a Connecticut court, and the non-paying parent lives in Connecticut, you can request a Connecticut court hearing to change the order. With the help of your family attorney, you’ll need to convince a judge or family support magistrate that your situation warrants a modification. The court requires proof of a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to make the change. Here are a few examples of significant changes.

1) Your child now lives with you.

If you’re the paying parent and your child has changed residences to live with you, you may find that you have taken over most of the expenses that were once handled by the other parent. In this case, it may not be appropriate to continue paying the same amount of child support to the other parent.

2) Your income decreases substantially.

The initial child support order was based on your income, among other factors. If the non-paying parent has seen an increase in income since then, and/or if your income decreases—whether you’ve been demoted, laid off, or otherwise lost a source of income—you may be able to get a modification to decrease your payments. Keep in mind that as a paying parent, you generally can’t modify the support order if you quit your job voluntarily.

3) Your child’s needs have changed.

Sometimes the cost of caring for your child can change. This can happen as the result of your child growing up, developing a medical condition, requiring special education, or some other change in circumstances. When the cost of raising your child goes up or down, either you or the non-paying parent should speak with a family law firm to assist you in determining whether to request a child support modification.

4) You have an illness or disability.

Contracting an illness, living with a disability, or sustaining some other kind of impairment can get in the way of your income and your child support payments. You may be able to have your payments modified in this situation, as long as you can prove that your condition interferes with your ability to pay in a substantial way.

5) Your child support order is at least 15% too high.

Connecticut courts use a set of predetermined guidelines, along with a mathematical formula, to calculate child support payments. The result is typically based on the incomes of both parents, along with a few other financial factors. This point can go hand-in-hand with some of the scenarios already mentioned, but if you can show that your child support payments are off by 15% or more, you may be able to get a modification.

Non-paying parents may also be able to request child support modifications in light of changed circumstances. Child support matters can get complicated, so if you’re not sure whether you qualify for a modification, you should get in contact with Freed Marcroft. Our skilled family law team is committed to serving Connecticut families with reliable and responsible legal counsel.