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How and why to modify child support

| Jul 15, 2020 | Child Custody & Support |

When parents get a divorce in Connecticut, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other. This is a fixed amount that a judge has approved, but it is possible to get a child support order modified in certain situations.

Child support may be temporarily or permanently modified. Examples of situations in which there may a temporary change in the child support order are if a parent or child has a medical emergency or if a parent suffers a temporary job loss. Examples of situations in which the modification is permanent include a job change, one parent’s permanent disability or a change in the child’s needs. Outside of these types of special circumstances, a judge is unlikely to modify a child support order because the court’s aim is on ensuring that the best interests of the child are paramount.

To get a change in the child support order, parents must return to the same court. The exact procedure varies from state to state, and an attorney may help a parent with the process. Even if parents make an informal agreement about child custody and support modification, they still need to get the court order changed or the parent will continue owing the same amount. When setting child support, some judges include a cost of living adjustment that can change the support from year to year.

Child support is usually but not always paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. In addition to determining how much child support will be, parents or a judge must also reach a decision on the custody and visitation schedule. Some parents may agree to joint custody or might have a visitation schedule that allows both parents roughly equal time with the child. In other situations, the child might spend two or three days weekly or even fewer with the noncustodial parent.