Modifying Child Support Orders in Connecticut

A final divorce or custody decree sets forth the amount of child support to be paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. While this amount might be set in stone, it is hardly permanent. Just as children change as they grow up, a support obligation may change as well.

Because of this, Connecticut law allows support obligations to be modified. Through this process, the amount of support can be lowered (or raised) depending on the situation. However, modifications are not granted in a vacuum. There must be a statutory basis for the change. Courts look for a "substantial deviation" which is the difference between the support amount in the current order, and the amount recommended through the statutory guidelines based on the parents' income. If there is a difference of 15 percent or more between the two, the court may have grounds for issuing a modification.

For example, a support order issued in 2008 calls for a non-custodial parent to pay $532 in support based on the statutory guidelines. If the parent loses his or her job, or now makes less money, there would be grounds to seek a support modification. At the same time, a support obligation may be reviewed if parent who sees a substantial pay increase. Of course, there are additional factors that the court may consider in reviewing a modification motion, including the presence of arrears, changes in child care or medical costs, as well as changes in custody or parenting time.

Support modifications are issued on a case-by-case basis, and there is no "guarantee" that a modification will be granted. As such, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney to learn about your rights and options.