Understanding When Child Support Can Be Modified
After a court issues a child support order, it is important to remember that this order is not necessarily set in stone. After all, if there is one thing people can count on in this world, it is that nothing ever stays the same.
However, if you are thinking of asking the court to modify a child support order, you better be prepared to offer a well-reasoned and compelling argument for doing so. Whether the child support order was issued by a New York court or a Connecticut court, very specific criteria must be met before your modification request will be granted.
Seeking A Child Support Modification In New York
Once a New York court has ordered child support, either parent can ask for a modification by simply filing a petition. These requests will be granted only when at least one of the following circumstances exists:
- A substantial change in circumstances has occurred, such as when a child develops a medical condition resulting in increased medical bills.
- Three years have passed since the child support order was entered or last modified (this requirement applies only to orders entered on or after Oct. 13, 2010).
- Either parent’s income has increased or decreased by 15 percent or more since the child support order was entered or last modified (this requirement also applies only to orders entered on or after Oct. 13, 2010).
These changes do not automatically trigger a modification in child support ― you must always ask the court for a modification.
Also, it is not a good idea to just up and quit your job to avoid future child support payments. A successful businessman who steps down from a lucrative leadership position to pursue his passion for “junkyard” sculpture is not going to sway a court to decrease his child support obligations. In fact, New York law expressly states that a decrease in income is not grounds for a modification unless it is involuntary.
Requesting A Modification Of Child Support In Connecticut
A Connecticut child support order can also be modified under circumstances very similar to those in New York. For instance, under Connecticut law, child support may be modified or altered upon either of the following:
- A showing of a substantial change in circumstances
- A showing that the child support order substantially deviates from state guidelines
As to the second circumstance above, Connecticut law states that a deviation of less than 15 percent will be presumed to be not substantial. This means that you must show a deviation of at least 15 percent before the court will consider your request ― and even then, a modification is not certain.
Dedicated And Skilled Legal Representation From An Experienced Lawyer
If you have questions about child support modifications, contact attorney Heidi E. Opinsky. Ms. Opinsky focuses her practice on helping people navigate the potential pitfalls of moderate and high net worth divorces, including related issues such as child support. Reach out to Ms. Opinsky online or call her at 203-392-1719. She has offices in both Stamford, Connecticut, and New York City.