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Requirements for modifying a child support order

The child support portion of a divorce can be both contentious and emotionally draining. Typically, both parents feel a strong desire to get the settlement right without feeling they are getting the short end of the stick. In most cases, this leads to a lot of hard work on the part of both parents before a settlement is reached. Parents think they have handled the matter correctly, but sometimes down the road, one parent may feel the need to initiate an action to modify the child support settlement.

This can happen if the parent who pays child support experiences a significant change of income, or if the parent receiving child support discovers there is not enough money to make ends meet. Before doing anything, it is crucial for both parents to understand that they cannot simply violate the child support order. Doing so can lead to trouble between the parents as well as legal trouble.

Instead, either or both parents should follow the Connecticut Judicial Branch's guidelines for modifying a child support order. This is so regardless of whether the parent or parents want to increase or decrease the amount of child support. Here are the basic criteria parents must meet when seeking to modify a Connecticut child support order.

-- Either parent experiences a significant change in income-- The cost of childcare experiences a significant change-- The current child support order is 15 percent greater than or lesser than the state guidelines mandate

While either parent can initiate a child support modification on his or her own, it is often beneficial to seek assistance from a family law attorney. This ensures the parents meet all the requirements and do not unintentionally violate a court order.

Source: State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, "How to Change Your Child Support Order," accessed Sep. 03, 2015

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