When most Connecticut residents complete their divorces, they hope they never need to see the inside of a courtroom again. Unfortunately, most lives do not proceed in straight lines, even after an emotionally taxing divorce. Lives often change unexpectedly, and the assumptions that were made by the parties or the court in settling issues such as child custody and child support may not last for a significant amount of time. When lives change, court orders may also need revision. The natural question is can an order for child support be revised? The answer is usually “yes,” but the process for doing so can be complex.
Using a motion to seek a modification
While the State of Connecticut provides a do-it-yourself set of instructions for seeking the modification of an order for child support on the Judicial Branch website, retaining an attorney can be the most effect way of prevailing on or defeating a motion to modify an order for child support. Any motion to be decided by the judge must ordinarily be filed by a licensed attorney. The person seeking the modification must prove to the satisfaction of the judge that the circumstances that prevailed on the date of the order have “substantially changed.” Such motions are normally made by persons attempting to increase the amount of support paid by the other ex-spouse. However, an ex-spouse who believes that he or she is paying too much support may seek an order reducing the amount of child support.
What are substantially changed circumstances?
“Substantially changed circumstances” generally refers to a change in the relative financial circumstances of the divorced parents. A person may seek modification because that person’s income has fallen unexpectedly, perhaps due to loss of employment. Modification can also be requested because the income of the other ex-spouse has unexpectedly increased. Other examples of changed circumstances may include a disabling injury or a serious illness suffered by the child.
How to proceed
Anyone who wants to modify a previous order for child support should seek the advice of the attorney for an evaluation of the facts and an opinion on the likelihood of prevailing.