Eckart v. Eckart
A husband may be entitled to a downward modification of child support when the oldest child reaches the age of majority, even if the wife has become ill and may require surgery. The parties married in March 1992 and divorced in July 2003. The parties' older child reached the age of 18 and enrolled in college, and the court found that this constituted a significant change in circumstances that merited modification. The defendant husband has paid the plaintiff wife more than $37,500 per year as child support since 2003 and also has paid $2,500 toward each child's private school education. The wife requested increased child support, because she recently became ill and may require surgery. The court found that the wife was earning $73,000 gross per year and that she received six months of severance pay in 2011 and enrolled in Yale Divinity School as a full scholarship student. The wife performs in a rock band and the wife's Web site shows that the wife appears energetic and has numerous events scheduled. The wife knowingly lowered her income when she chose to marry the pastor of her church, who earns "negative" income, and enrolled in divinity school. The wife also elected to give her new husband the more than $300,000 that she obtained because of the divorce. The plaintiff wife, wrote the court, "is essentially asking the Court to award alimony disguised as child support and hold [the defendant, former husband] responsible for the expenses of her `second' and newer household." The court denied the wife's request for an upward modification and granted the husband's motion for a downward modification of child support. The court ordered the defendant husband to pay child support of $473 per week, pursuant to the child support guidelines, 100 percent of the older child's college tuition, after credits for financial aid and work study, and 50 percent of the younger child's tuition at Christian Heritage School. The court ordered the wife to pay $200 toward the older child's book and school supply expenses, plus 50 percent of the younger child's tuition.