When a judge orders child support, both parents are legally obligated to abide by the terms of the order. However, if your financial circumstances change, the initial child support order may become ineffective or inappropriate. You can’t just quit paying child support or lower your payment.
What you need to do instead is file a request for a Post-Judgment Modification. Here’s what you should know about child support modification in CT and what you can do to obtain experienced legal advocacy.
Child Support Modification: The Quick Basics
If your child lives within the state of Connecticut, you can usually simply file a request for a court to modify your child support order. If your child’s other parent contests the petition, the case may need to be mediated or litigated. In the case of litigation, you have the burden of proof of persuading the court that your circumstances warrant a change in the amount of support you receive or pay.
If you and your co-parent establish an agreement through collaborative law or mediation, this is what will be submitted to the court for confirmation. To make any adjustments to the amount of child support ordered, Connecticut courts require evidence of a “substantial change in circumstances.”
Reasons Child Support Modification In CT May Be Ordered
There are several reasons child support modification in CT may be ordered, including but not limited to:
- Your income changes substantially. If you begin making 15% less than your court ordered child support payments, you will likely qualify to have your payments reduced. Recipient parents can petition a Connecticut Superior Court to have child support modified if they can prove that the paying parent’s income has increased.
- You become injured, disabled, or otherwise cannot work. If you are hurt or become unwell and are unable to work, your child support may be modified to better accommodate lost earnings and medical expenses. The court will consider other income sources, your ability to work in the future, and whether or not you have medical insurance that covers some or all of your medical costs when making a child support modification decision.
- Your child now spends more than half their time at your home. If your child spent equal time or less at your home and is now spending 51% or more of their time with you, you may qualify to be named the primary custodian and either child support revoked or potentially even paid to you.
- Your child’s needs have increased. You can anticipate that the cost of meeting your child’s financial needs will change in the future. Instead of childcare and diapers, you’ll be purchasing bigger ticket items like a cell phone and a vehicle. Or, your child themselves may become ill or injured and you may need to quit your job to provide them with full-time care. If this happens, a court may grant your request to have child support increased.
Child Support Enforcement Actions
If the paying parent fails to meet their child support obligations, Connecticut courts have the authority to compel payments in a number of ways. This includes but is not limited to fines, wage garnishment, or jail time in a county detention facility. What steps a court takes to enforce child support orders depends on the judge’s preferences, how much child support the payor owes, and any other relevant factors.
How to File for Child Support Modification
Child support is never modified automatically after a child’s needs change or the paying parent experiences a change in their income or ability to pay. Chances are, the parent for whom a child support modification would be inconvenient are also unlikely to file a request for modification. The parent who wishes to have the child support they pay or receive changed must apply for a modification and submit sufficient proof that a significant change in circumstances has occurred.
It’s important to consult with an experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer as soon as possible if you intend on attempting to modify your child support order. How you complete and file the petition can have an impact on your case and potentially how successful you will be. An attorney can help increase the chances that the court will look favorably on your case and issue an agreeable ruling.
Contact Heidi E. Opinsky today for a consultation to go over your child support case and the best path forward for a modification petition. Call now to schedule your appointment at 203-653-3542.