If you’re going through a divorce, or if you’ve never been married to your kid’s other parent but want to end the relationship, you’ll need to know about child support. In CT, both parents are responsible for their children’s support, whether they are married or not.
The Connecticut child support calculator uses the “Income Shares Model,” which means that courts estimate how much parents would spend on their children if both parents and children lived in the same residence (as if the family were still intact) and divide that amount between them depending on their salaries.
Calculating Gross and Net Income
Child support guidelines are based on both parents’ total net income (gross income minus permitted deductions), which is calculated using the Connecticut child support calculator. Most forms of earned and unearned income are included in gross income. Wages, commissions, self-employment income, bonuses, dividend or interest income, rent, workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance payments, and pension or retirement benefits are all examples of common sources of income.
It excludes child support, public assistance, and Supplemental Security Income that a parent receives for their children from other partnerships. A detailed definition of gross revenue is included in the recommendations.
You may calculate your net income by subtracting the following particular costs from your gross revenue:
- Payments of income taxes
- Premiums for medical, hospital, and dental insurance for you and your legal dependents
- Premiums for court-ordered life insurance maintained for the benefit of the child Premiums.
- Court-ordered disability insurance.
- Alimony or average child support awarded by the court that you pay for other dependents (not including “arrearages,” meaning overdue child support payments).
- Dues and costs for uniforms and tools are required by the union (to the extent that your employer deducts these items).
- social security tax payments
- mandatory retirement contributions, and
- Medicare tax payments.
You may be allowed to deduct a portion of their support if you have children from previous relationships living with you. The instructions offer a detailed description of how to compute deductions.
Connecticut Child Support Guidelines
Connecticut judges utilise the most recent version of the CT Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines to compute child support payments. You can estimate the non-custodial parent’s average child support obligation by reviewing the guidelines and filling out the worksheet if you or your child’s other parent has primary physical custody and the non-custodial parent has a fairly standard visitation schedule (alternating weekends and holidays, some vacation time, and possibly some additional short visits).
The Basic Child Support Obligation
Put both parents’ net weekly salaries together and compare the sum to the column in the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations that contains the matching number of children to calculate basic child support.
The rules incorporate the most recent version of this timetable. If the total net weekly income is $1,000, the basic child support payment for one child is $229, according to the schedule. To calculate each parent’s percentage share of the support amount ($229), divide each parent’s income by the total combined income.
If the non-custodial parent earns $600 per week and the custodial parent earns $400 per week, the non-custodial parent is responsible for 60% of the $229 support amount (600 divided by 1,000), while the custodial parent is responsible for 40%. (400 divided by 1,000).
Although the Worksheet calculations will give you a support amount for each parent, courts assume that the custodial parent’s share of the direct costs of raising children is already covered, therefore only the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying the support amount.
As a result, the basic weekly support requirement would be $137.40. (60 percent of 229).
The weekly benefit amount should be reduced from the support obligation if a child receives social security dependency payments based on a non-custodial parent’s wage record.
Also, read: Grandparent’s rights in CT.
Deviations from Guidelines
The court may, in exceptional circumstances, order a different amount than the guideline amount (called a “deviation”). A court may find that a variation is acceptable if the child has exceptional education, special needs, or medical requirements, or if one of the parents has unusual visiting expenses or unreimbursed medical, disability, or employment-related expenses.
In addition to income, courts will consider if a parent or kid has significant assets and resources, as well as how parents would divide their assets if they are already divorcing. Other reasons for a variance might include a parent’s other dependents’ requirements, significant financial discrepancies between parents, or the presence of a shared physical custody situation.
The instructions include thorough instructions on how to calculate adjustments and deviations. If the total average child support award is more than 55 percent of the net income of the parent who is entitled to pay support, a deviation may be necessary.
Shared Physical Custody
If both parents spend much more time with a kid than the normal visitation schedule stated above, they may share physical custody. There is no requirement for an exact number of days; rather, something close to equal time is required.
In a shared custody agreement, a court may cut the non-custodial parent’s contribution, but only if the parenting arrangement really affects how the parents distribute expenditures.
In other words, the court will not impose a decrease if the parents spend time almost evenly, but the custodial parent still pays for the majority of child-related costs. The decrease must be so significant that the custodial parent will be unable to provide the child’s fundamental necessities.
Each parent has primary custody of at least one kid under “split custody.” Parents must compute each parent’s support requirement on different Worksheets under this sort of arrangement. The parent with the greater duty pays the difference to the other parent after deducting the lower obligation from the higher obligation.
Imputing or Attributing Income
Unfortunately, some parents try to avoid paying child support by abandoning their jobs or neglecting to conduct a thorough job search. For example, one parent may mistakenly believe that quitting a well-paying, highly-skilled profession to pursue a lower-paying job will relieve them of their child support obligations. This type of action is unlikely to be tolerated by the courts.
If a court determines that one or both parents are voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, average child support may be calculated using the parent’s potential earning capacity (what the parent could earn based on factors like work history, training, education, and available jobs in the area), rather than the income from a lower-paying job.
Modification and Termination of Connecticut Child Support
A parent who wishes to modify (alter) a child support order must prove a significant change in circumstances after the court has established the first order. Two examples of circumstances that may need change include, one parent obtaining a much higher-paying job and the parents permanently changing the amount of days per week that each of them spends with a child.
Courts will typically assume that a revision is necessary if the difference between an existing award and the amount established by a new analysis and application of the current standards is greater than 15%.
This isn’t always the case, and even a 15% difference in income won’t always warrant a change in the support order.
A child’s support obligation in CT normally lasts until they become 18 or until a full-time high school student completes twelfth grade or turns 19, whichever comes first. A court may also order a parent to pay the costs of a child who is enrolled full-time in post-secondary school and is between the ages of 18 and 23. (college or another form of educational program).
Enforcing Child Support Order in Connecticut
The Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) of the Connecticut Department of Social Services is in charge of aiding parents in obtaining and enforcing child support orders, computing child support using the Connecticut child support calculator, as well as locating absent parents, and establishing paternity if necessary. On the BCSE website, you may learn more about these services.
Can We Agree to a Child Support Payment That’s Different From the Calculation?
There is a presumption that the amount of child support calculated using the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines is the right amount for the court to impose. However, there are certain instances in which a “deviation” from the Guidelines’ presumed level of assistance is permissible.
When the parents agree to a lower or higher amount of child support than the formula dictates, or when a judge determines that the computation under the Guidelines would be inequitable or unsuitable in a specific situation, a deviation occurs.
How long will I pay child support?
Child support is normally provided until the child completes high school or reaches the age of 19, whichever comes first. Even if you stop paying, you’ll probably keep paying.
You don’t see the child because the other parent marries or lives with someone else, you’re in prison, or you’re unemployed.
What happens if I’m behind on my payments?
Support Enforcement Services can collect back child support in various methods, including withdrawing money from your wage, tax refund, and bank account if you are late on payments. It’s also possible to place a lien on your property, report you to credit bureaus, and deny you a passport.
The court might hold you in contempt if you defied a court order that you were aware of and could afford to pay. Make lump-sum payments, look for a job, or go to court again.
You can request a reduction in your payment. If your income, the other parent’s income, or other circumstances concerning the kid change significantly, the price may be reduced.
Yes. Even if collecting child support becomes difficult, both parents have the right to request visitation and custody.
Connecticut’s Child Support Guidelines apply to combined net weekly salaries of $50 to $4,000 per week. Child support is decided on a case-by-case basis when the parents’ total weekly income exceeds $4,000.