Does the court consider previous child support orders?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

I am getting divorced and the state of Connecticut awarded my wife a hefty support amount. I already have a child support order from another state for a previous marriage.

I will not be able to afford to pay both. Can the state take this much from me even if they are two separate orders?


First, let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of Connecticut. The information in the article is general in nature. You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss your options.

It is unclear from your question whether the Connecticut order is for child support or spousal support (alimony).

The goal of child support is to ensure that children are supported and that the state will not have to pay for their expenses. Most child support formulas take into consideration preexisting support orders.

If your current wife got an additional child support order entered without a court hearing, you may have a chance to object to the order and request that the judge or other official hold a hearing to determine the proper amount of child support. It is not likely that she told the court you have other support obligations.

If you are entitled to a hearing, you should present the other court support orders and ask that the amount of income that is attributed to you in the child support formula include a reduction for these orders.

If the Connecticut order is for spousal support (alimony), you may have to petition the court for leave to modify the order. If your request is granted, the judge must look at the following factors in determining if alimony is appropriate: the length of the marriage, the causes for the dissolution of the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties. If you have children with your wife, the court will also take into consideration whether the custodial parent can or should work.

In either case, you must have documents that support your assertion that you cannot afford to pay your current wife the ordered amount. You should have evidence of your income, your existing support orders, and a monthly budget to show the judge that the support order leaves you destitute.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in Connecticut to further discuss the specifics of your situation.  Thank you for submitting your question.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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