When the courts issue the child support order in a parenting plan in your divorce, they do so based on the circumstances at the time of the divorce. Your life and the life of your ex will invariably change after the divorce. Living in new homes and starting new relationships are common, as are all of the changes that occur as someone’s life continues to progress. Career advancement is one such change.
If your ex is a successful professional who has recently received a raise, promotion or large bonus related to their work, you may be able to ask the court review your child support and modify it, just as they could ask for a reduction if their earning potential went down or your income went up.
Additional child support related to an ex’s increase in wealth or income is also called good fortune child support by some states. It is not inappropriate or greedy for a custodial parent to seek additional support when the other spouse’s circumstances improve. Instead, it is a rational decision based on the best interests of the children and what would happen if you had remained married or they retained primary custody.
The change has to be significant to warrant a modification
The courts in Connecticut will listen to requests from either parent about adjusting the terms of custody or the amount of support due when there is a valid reason to request a change. Parents can request a modification for any number of reasons.
Typically, the states want to see a substantial change in income when there’s a modification request. If your ex receives a raise of $0.25 an hour at work, the courts likely won’t adjust child support over such a small increase in income. However, if they receive a promotion that comes with a $10,000 bonus and a raise, that could motivate the courts to increase support for your children and thereby improve their standard of living.
You need to have evidence to support your claims
One thing that may frustrate some parents who see their ex in improved circumstances is that not all of their income may be taxable. Some parents paying child support will go to extreme lengths to avoid reporting new or additional income, including agreeing to illegal, under the table payment from an employer without reporting or tax withholding.
Whether your ex is receiving more cash income or has documentable income increases, you will need some amount of evidence to prove your assertion that their situation has changed. When you request the hearing, you will fill out a financial affidavit. Your ex will need to do the same if they contest your filing.
Having evidence to support your claims is important, whether it’s social media posts or statements from your ex’s boss. If you can show to the courts that their income has gone up, their obligation to the children may increase as well.