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How to modify your child support order

In Connecticut, a court order for child support can only be modified under two circumstances. The first is if either parent shows that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred for either party. The second is if the child support order that was entered into substantially deviates from the child support guidelines.

The person who wants to change the amount of child support that is to be paid has the burden of showing that one of the two circumstances occurred. However, if the requesting party voluntarily caused the change of circumstance, the court can assess whether it is just to modify the court order at all. If the parties had previously agreed on the child support, a court will not enforce this contract when it no longer serves the best interest of the child, such as when custody has changed from the parent who receives child support to the one who pays it. A court also has discretion to order that support be retroactive from the date that the modification request was submitted.

If a party wishes to change the amount of child support that is paid, he or she must submit a petition to the court asking to modify the order. However, Connecticut recognizes a rebuttable presumption that the original amount of the award if it was based on child support guidelines is the proper amount to be ordered. In a modification, the same factors that were used during the original determination of child support are used to determine whether or not a modification should be granted and for what amount.

Individuals who would like to modify the amount of child support that they pay or receive may choose to consult with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney can provide information about the legal threshold that must be met before such a modification be ordered.

Source: State of Connecticut Judicial Branch , "Child Support in Connecticut", October 11, 2014

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