Basic information about child support in Vermont.
Can I get financial support for my children?
In many cases, yes. Usually, a child support order is established at the same time as PR&R. In other cases, you can initiate a child support order by completing the required forms and filing them with your local family court. You can download the forms here from the Vermont Judiciary website or get them at your local family court or from the Vermont Office of Child Support.
Every parent has the responsibility to support his/her child, although the amount of support will vary depending on how much time the children spend with each parent (sole or shared parenting) or whether there is at least one child living with each parent (split parenting).* Child support orders in Vermont are supposed to provide children with the same standard of living that they would have received if their parents had stayed together.**
There are many forms and calculations involved in coming to a child support agreement. Please contact an attorney for more detailed information - go to VT Finding a Lawyer. To see Vermont’s child support guidelines, you can look on the Vermont Department for Children and Families website.
* Vermont Judiciary website, Chid Support Pamphlet
** VT ST T. 15 §§ 650; 654
How is child support paid?
Child support in Vermont is paid in one of three ways:
- “wage withholding” – child support payments are deducted from the non-custodial parent’s wages or unemployment compensation and are sent to Office of Child Support (“OCS”) Registry, which is then sent to you;
- payment from the non-custodial parent to the Office of Child Support Registry, which is then sent to you; or
- direct payment from the other parent to you.
Please see the Vermont Department for Children and Families website for more details on how child support is paid in Vermont and what the Office of Child Support Registry does.
When can I modify (change) my child support order?
Either parent or the office of child support can file for a modification. Once a child support order has been issued, any request to modify, or change, the amount of support must be filed in family court. A child support order does not automatically change if there is a change in one parent’s income. The original child support order remains in effect until modified by the court. The court will consider a modification of your child support order in 2 instances:
- if your support order has not been changed in at least three years, you can request a modification without showing a change in circumstances; or
- at any time, provided there has been a “real, substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances”1 such as, for example:
- receipt of workers’ compensation, disability benefits, means-tested public assistance benefits, unemployment compensation (unless the period of unemployment was considered when the child support order was established);
- incarceration for more than 90 days (unless the incarceration is for failure to pay child support);2
- a substantial change in one parent’s income.3
Note: The office of child support may file a motion to modify child support or change the payee (recipient) if a party is or will be incarcerated for more than 90 days, if the family has reunited or is living together, if the child is no longer living with the payee, or if a party receives means-tested benefits.4
You can read more about modifications on the Vermont Judiciary website.
1 VT ST T. 15 § 660(a)(1)
2 VT ST T. 15 § 660(c)
3Vermont Judiciary website
4 VT ST T. 15 § 660(a)(2)