Officially released December 4, 2018.
Pursuant to a prior separation agreement and judgment, the parties’ two children were to live primarily with Wife and Husband was to pay unallocated support and alimony through 2020. The parties’ prior appeal addressed the change in custody and support for their daughter. Husband filed a motion to modify custody and child support in 2015 based on the fact that their son was now living with him. In 2016, Wife filed motions, inter alia, regarding post-secondary education and to increase the unallocated support order based on a reduction in her income.
The trial court granted Husband’s motion to modify custody and child support, modifying support retroactive to the date of service. The trial court found that Wife had undergone a substantial change in circumstances, but denied Wife’s motion for an increase in support. Lastly, the trial court ordered that, based on the unambiguous agreements of the parties as to post-secondary education, the UConn cap did not apply regarding post-secondary education.
Wife argued on appeal was that the Court erroneously included alimony payments in her income in calculating the child support guidelines. The Appellate Court agreed and remanded on this issue, rejecting Husband’s argument that the effect was de minimis. The child support regulations make clear that only alimony received from a nonparty to the support determination is included in gross income.
Wife argued that that the trial court lacked evidence as to the parties’ prior income for purposes of retroactivity and ignored her financial contributions to the child during the period of retroactivity. The Appellate Court rejected this argument, finding sufficient information in the record to demonstrate that the parties’ income had not changed in the retroactive period prior to the parties’ financial affidavits and that her providing some financial support directly to the child had no bearing on whether Husband had been primary custodial parent providing for the child’s necessities and entitled to support.
Wife argued that the trial court misconstrued the separation agreement by waiving the UConn cap on post-secondary education. The Appellate Court denied Wife’s claim that the UConn cap applied based on the terms of the separation agreement and the mutual agreement regarding what schools the children should attend.
Wife argued that the trial court improperly denied her motion to modify the unallocated order of support. The Appellate Court found that, while the trial court found a substantial change in circumstances based on Wife’s reduction in income, its denial was not abuse of discretion in light of Wife’s continuing ability to meet her needs.