Making Changes To Custody, Child Support Or Alimony

As hard as you try, it is impossible to draft a marital settlement agreement or a divorce decree that will anticipate all of the future changes that can take place in a family. Illness, job loss, increased or decreased income, moves and other significant changes of circumstances can make the original agreement or court order unworkable.

That is why Connecticut law provides for post-decree modification of custody, alimony and child support. If the terms of your divorce decree dealing with child custody, child support or alimony simply don't work because of a significant change of circumstances, you may be able to obtain a modification of the decree.

Examples Of Significant Changes Which Might Support A Modification

  • Maybe your children were young when you signed the divorce settlement papers giving custody to your spouse. Since then the other parent has become unable or unwilling to care for the children and you want to change the custody orders.
  • Maybe you had a good-paying job with benefits when you agreed to pay your ex alimony. Since then you have lost your job and can't make the payments. You need to change the terms of the divorce decree that require you to pay monthly spousal support.
  • Maybe your spouse wasn't working full time at the time of the divorce and little or no child support was awarded to you as the primary residential parent. Since then your ex-spouse has become employed or is earning additional income. You want the non-custodial parent to pay more child support under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines.

At Brown Paindiris & Scott in Hartford, our attorneys represent parties who are seeking a change or modification of the divorce decree and those who are opposing a change.

Bringing A Successful Post-Divorce Modification Motion

Our lawyers are intimately familiar with the law regarding post-decree modifications and the factual situations which might support a successful motion, including:

Change of child custody: To win a change of custody motion, the other parent must show that there has been a significant change of circumstances and that the current custody order is no longer in the child's interest. Examples of changes, which might qualify, include:

  • Changes in a parent's work schedule which negatively affect the ability to care for the child
  • Relocation or parental moves
  • Development or worsening of a parent's mental illness, psychiatric condition, chemical dependency
  • Evidence of child sexual, physical or emotional abuse
  • The child has significant problems or issues that one parent is better equipped to handle

Change of alimony or child support: You must show a substantial change of circumstances to change the terms of a support order, such as:

  • Loss of job or reduced income of the party paying support
  • New employment or increase in income by the party receiving alimony or spousal support
  • Substantial increase in income of the party paying alimony or child support
  • Extraordinary medical expenses or disability

For more information about post-decree modifications, or for an assessment of your situation, contact Brown Paindiris & Scott. We would be happy to consult with you regarding the possibility of changing custody, alimony or child support.