Friday, April 06, 2007

Child support modifications – noncustodial parental income

The Appeals Court recently clarified its stance on child support modification requests when the noncustodial parent’s income increases. In an earlier case, Brooks v. Piela the court ruled that an increase in child support was warranted, based on the fact that there was a greater disparity between the standards of living between the two households, even though the custodial parent’s income had also increased.

In Smith v. Edelman, reported on April 2nd, the Appeals Court decided against an upward adjustment of modification based on the reasoning that the children's needs were well met and there was no material disparity in the standards of living between the custodial and noncustodial households. They went on to state “the goal of maintaining the standard of living of the family as though it had remained intact is not without limit; an increase in child support based solely on an increase in income of the noncustodial spouse may have the effect of constructively distributing the noncustodial parent's estate, and is accordingly disfavored.”

These cases should get some attention as the topic of child support modification is hotly contested. View our topical page on Child Support.