Despite any language in a separation agreement or stipulation of settlement, a court may entertain an application for an increase in child support at any time. Generally, a court will grant an increase if it finds that the needs of the child are not being met, or there has been a change in circumstances of the parties. If an increase is granted, it will be retroactive to the date the application was first filed with the court. An increase can be granted by either the Family Court or the Supreme Court.
A court may grant a decrease in child support if it finds that the payor party is financially unable to comply with the existing order of support. The inability to pay must not be of the party’s making. In other words, a party voluntarily quitting his or her job is not entitled to a decrease in support. While courts are reluctant to reduce child support, they will do so when a party’s financial circumstances have materially worsened.