In Connecticut, both parents have an obligation to support their children, and family courts are empowered to establish orders for child support payments to enforce that obligation. Consequently, you should seek legal guidance if you have minor children and are experiencing the dissolution of a marriage or other parental relationship. Serving clients in the Connecticut area, experienced child support lawyer Walter A. Shalvoy, Jr. can advice you on what you may expect.
Connecticut provides that a parent’s level of child support is determined by calculating what both parents would spend on the child or children if the family were to remain intact. Then, the court will allocate this amount between the parents based upon their respective incomes.
The Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines set out the applicable laws for child support and provide a worksheet to help parents determine what their financial obligations toward their children are. However, filling out the worksheet and understanding over 40 pages of legal definitions and instructions is not a straightforward matter. Not only do family arrangements and circumstances vary widely, but the guidelines contain numerous exceptions and deviations that can make the effort confusing and frustrating. An experienced family law attorney can provide you with the help you need to properly assess your situation.
The support due to a child or children by his or her parents is based upon a proportion of the total net income of the parents. To calculate net income, the court looks at the total gross income of the parents from employment, investments, payments, benefits, and similar items, excluding:
Once the total net weekly income is determined, the guidelines provide a schedule of what amount of support the children are entitled to receive. That amount is then allocated between the parents based upon what percentage of the total net income they are contributing. For example, if the mother earns only 25% of the net amount of income, her portion of the total support obligation will also be 25%.
However, there are numerous factors that affect the actual amount of any child support calculation or payment. For example, where parents share custody, a parent may have reduced payments or no payment, since the court will presume that both parents are providing support while the child or children are in the custody of each parent. If one parent has substantial assets, the court will consider these resources in addition to income in calculating a support obligation. The court may deviate from the calculation if the child is a special needs child, or there are other extraordinary expenses required either for the parent or the child, such as medical care. If there is split custody, the court will do separate calculations for each child to allocate the parents’ respective obligations, and it will derive the total obligation of each parent to determine if any support payment is required.
Connecticut family law attorney Walter A. Shalvoy, Jr. can assist you in understanding what your financial obligations are likely to be in a child support case, based upon all of the factors that affect your particular circumstances. Shalvoy Law can also help you if you need to obtain a modification of a child support order, such as when your own financial situation or the situation of the other parent alters significantly. If you need help with a child support matter, call us at 203-426-4409 or use our online form to set up your free consultation.