Child Support Modification and Change of Circumstances

Child Support Modification Requires a Change in Circumstances Not Contemplated at the Time of the Prior Order

The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco, in another successful appeal, defended a father in a case concerning an ex-wife’s motion to modify the father’s child support obligation, the father had the trial court reversed. This specific case involved the child support modification, the parties had a Shared Parenting Plan, each parent had alternating week parenting time, and the parties agreed in their Divorce Decree that neither parent would pay child support to the other because each was responsible for the costs of the child during each of their respective parenting times. The Third District Court of Appeals found that the trial court made a mistake as a matter of law, when it granted the ex-wife’s motion to increase the father’s child support obligation, and reversed the trial court ruling.

The Appeals Court ruled that a trial court may modify a child support obligation if it finds (1) that a substantial change of circumstances has occurred since the time the obligation was imposed and (2) that the substantial change in circumstances was not contemplated at the time the obligation was imposed.  To read the full Court opinion see,  http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/3/2013/2013-Ohio-2947.pdf.

In this case, the Union County trial court granted the ex-wife’s child support modification motion, and Ordered father to now pay child support to the mother because the trial court found a substantial change of circumstances had in fact occurred. However, Court of Appeals ruled the error the trial court made was that it failed to find that the substantial change of circumstances was not contemplated at the time the child support obligation was imposed. As a result, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.

When dealing with a child support modification, it is important to note that the phrase “not contemplated at the time the obligation was imposed” is extremely case and fact specific, and can come down to whether or not the parties thought about, talked about, or knew that the change of circumstances was likely to happen at some point in the future.

Child Support Modification