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

Many people wonder when the modification of a Connecticut court’s child support order is appropriate.

When a court issues a child support order, you are legally bound to follow its rules. But, if your situation changes, the original child support order may no longer be practical or appropriate. If you’re a paying parent, you cannot simply stop paying or reduce child support. You can, however, apply for a post-judgment modification.

Generally speaking, if your child lives in Connecticut, you can request that a Connecticut court change the order.  In the litigation context, with the help of your family law attorney, you’ll need to convince a judge that your situation warrants a modification.  If you and your co-parent both agree to collaborative law or mediation, you will reach an agreement that is then entered with the court for approval.

The court requires proof of a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to make the change.

Here are a few examples of significant changes.

Times When Modification of Connecticut Child Support May be Appropriate

1) Your child now lives with you.

Sometimes a child changes residences and begins living with the paying parent.  In those cases, the paying parent may take over most of the expenses previously handled by the other parent.  If so, the original child support award may no longer be appropriate.

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 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.

Illness, disability, or some other 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.

Next Steps

Child support modifications can get complicated.  If you’re not sure whether you qualify, please reach out.

As always, if you have questions or want to learn more about how post judgment motions might work in your specific situation, please contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.

Written by Freed Marcroft