Superior Court of Connecticut: Motion to Modify Custody

While a motion to modify custody is pending, can a court temporarily modify a child support order after the minor children changed their residence from one parent to the other for a significant period of time? In a post-judgment divorce action, the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford answered this question affirmatively.

Case Background

In this case, the plaintiff mother and defendant father were divorced in February 2005. The court awarded sole custody of their two minor children to the father and ordered the mother to pay $218 per week in child support. The children remained with the father until November 2008, at which point the older child left the father’s home to live with his mother. In May 2011, the younger child followed suit. Therefore, the mother sought modification of child support payments.

Courts routinely consult the child support guidelines when determining the amount of child support one parent must pay to the other. The amount of payment can be modified when one party shows a substantial change in circumstances since the issuance of the last order. Both parents are expected to contribute to the minor child’s care, but the calculation is made prior to determining the actual amount the obligor pays to the “custodial parent.” A custodial parent is defined as “the parent who provides the child’s primary residence.”

The Court’s Decision

The Superior Court determined that a substantial change in circumstances occurred. The mother provided the primary residence for both minor children over an extended period of time, and as such became the “custodial parent” for purposes of child support. Therefore, she was entitled to contribution from the father. Because the net income of the father and mother was $4,891 and $593 respectively, the court ordered the father to pay $3,029 per month until the youngest son reached the age of eighteen.

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion regarding awards of alimony, assignment of property, or child support, a divorced individual is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya of Maya Murphy, P.C. in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at