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Personal and Professional Legal Services in the Heart of Vermont

Can people modify their child support orders?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Child Support |

Child support in Vermont is designed to ensure that children’s needs are being met at both parents’ homes if the parents are separated or divorced. The amount parents pay for child support is determined by the child support guidelines and varies from parent to parent.

The child support obligation is based on the numbers put into the guidelines at the time it is ordered and the child support obligation will then continue until the children are adults. This can be a long time, depending on when the child support was first ordered. As the years go by, one parent may no longer believe that they should continue to pay the current amount or the receiving parent may believe that they should receive more each month.

When can people modify child support?

Child support orders can be modified; however, they will not be modified simply because a parent wants the amount to change. Under Vermont law, child support orders can be modified if there has been a substantial and unanticipated change in the circumstances. However, this requirement can be waived if it has been at least three years since child support was established or last modified.

It is considered a substantial change if, under the current circumstances, child support varies by at least 10% from the current amount ordered pursuant to the child support guidelines. Some examples of what could result in a substantial change are:

  • A parent begins receiving workers’ compensation, disability or a form of public assistance
  • A parent begins receiving unemployment compensation, unless it was anticipated that the parent would receive unemployment compensation at the time the current amount was established
  • A parent is put in jail for at least 90 days for any reason besides non-payment of child support.

Life in Vermont can be unpredictable for people and circumstances can change suddenly and unexpectedly. When this occurs, parents may no longer be able to pay child support or they may be in a position to pay more child support. In these situations, parents may be able to seek a modification of child support. Experienced attorneys understand when child support may be modified and may be a useful resource.