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What is a Substantial Change in Circumstances for Connecticut Child Support?

white square with a gold frame and the black writing what is a substantial change in circumstances written on it with the Freed Marcroft logo in the lower right cornerWe are often asked what constitutes a substantial change in circumstances when it comes to modifying child support.

For the answer, read on!

Motion to Modify Child Support

In “How Is Child Support Calculated in Connecticut?” we learned that the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines do not currently provide a mechanism for adjusting or reevaluating child support.

In order to modify a child support order, a party files a Motion for Modification with the court.

The parent who wants to change (or “modify”) an existing child support order must show a “substantial change in circumstances.”

Substantial Change In Circumstances

Some examples of changes that might justify modification would be:

  • an increase (or decrease) in one parent’s income
  • an increased need for support
  • or a permanent change parenting plan

Any changes to a parenting plan must be in the child’s best interests.

Definition of “Substantial”

Courts will generally consider a difference “substantial” if the difference between an existing award and the amount determined by a new analysis and application of the current guidelines varies by more than 15%.  However, this isn’t automatic, and won’t result in a change in the child support order in every situation.

Agreement to Modify Child Support

Parents can agree between themselves to a lesser or higher amount of child support, or when a Judge decides that the modification is appropriate.  In both cases, the modification needs to be in the best interests of the child.

Even Agreements to Modify Need to Be Court Orders

Parents should consult with experienced family law counsel before they agree to any changes to child support.  An agreement between parents to modify is not a binding court order until it is entered and ruled upon by a court.  In the meantime, the original court order on child support stands.

Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about when child support ends or how college or post secondary support works, click here.

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

 

Written by Meghan Freed