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Do Child Custody Modifications Affect Child Support in Vermont?

— April 28, 2022

Child support can be modified in Vermont when there is a substantial change of circumstances in the child custody agreement.

Married couples who have children, and those who are single and share children, must make custody arrangements when their relationships break up.  These agreements will ensure that  the children are cared for and have a stable living environment.  Child custody issues in Vermont are very frustrating and can be the more emotional part of a divorce, or ending to a relationship that involves children.  Child support is the amount of money that one parent must pay to the custodial parent to maintain expenses for children occurring out of the relationship, so child custody modifications can affect child support amounts in Burlington.  A Vermont child custody attorney can give direction to individuals who are concerned about the important aspects of a custody agreement being met, focusing on the unique factors of both parents and the children’s lives.

Judge has impact

A Vermont judge will make a child custody order for minor children and it will be determined on what custody and visitation agreements are in the best interests of the children. Possible outcomes could be a joint custody, where parents share custody, or a sole custody, where one parent has custody and the other is awarded visitation.  One parent is usually the custodial parent, and the other is considered the non-custodial parent, but both have responsibilities toward the child’s care, wellness and living expenses. 

Child custody modifications

After an original child custody agreement has been made by parents and ordered by the court, changes are not able to be made unless modifications to the custody agreement are necessary after it has been set in place.  A judge may limit the number of modifications allowed to those that are absolutely necessary in the best interests of the child, because too many changes may have a negative effect on the child emotionally, or developmentally.  When parents both agree to a modification, it is much easier for a judge to approve them and amend the original custody agreement.  Mediators and child custody attorneys can often assist with any disputes before a judge is involved.  

Child support

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Child support can be modified in Vermont when there is a substantial change of circumstances in the child custody agreement. The original custodial parent may become the non-custodial parent and no longer requires child support in the original amount as one such example.  A substantial change of circumstance means that something changed that will require more, or less child support from one parent to another and it may have a direct correlation to child custody changes.  Once a child support order is issued, it can only be modified (or changed) by the court, but either parent can petition the court to modify the order when there is a real and unanticipated change in circumstances (e.g., job loss, significant income change, disability, or change in custody), a need to suspend wage withholding, or a change that will result in child support that’s at least 10% higher or lower than originally ordered.  Court reviews of support orders may be requested every three years by parents.  Child custody lawyers in Burlington can be of assistance in these matters and may save ex-couples from angry exchanges as they continue shared physical and fiscal responsibility of  their children.

Seek legal counsel

A motion to modify an existing child custody order will subsequently need to be filed with the court after a judge has approved it.  This can be done with the help of a child custody attorney, who can assure that the documents are prepared correctly and important supporting evidence is provided to the court.    


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