Parental Alienation Insufficient To Modify Child Support

Superior Court of Connecticut: Divorce Action

In a post-judgment divorce action, the Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford denied a husband’s motion seeking modification of his child support obligation on multiple grounds. When a parent seeks to modify the amount of his child support payments, he or she must show the existence of a substantial change in circumstances that would render it unfair to hold both parties to the terms of the previous order. Whether parental alienation constitutes such a change was at issue in this case.

The Marriage

The marriage of plaintiff husband and defendant wife was dissolved in January 2003, and the husband was ordered to pay alimony and child custody. After a series of motions regarding these awards and the established parenting plan, the father sought a reduction in his payments. He argued that he experienced a substantial change in circumstances, in part due to his move to California and allegations of parental alienation inflicted by the wife.

Court Outcome

The court rejected both of these grounds, pointing out the husband had moved prior to the date of the last order, and as such, this circumstance was not new. In addition, state precedent holds that there is no linkage between one’s obligation to pay child support and the exercise of visitation rights. Therefore, any allegations of parental alienation disrupting the husband’s visitation with his children are not sufficient grounds on their own to permit modification of child support payments.

Whether advancing or defending a post-judgment motion regarding awards of alimony, assignment of property, and 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 in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.