Parents are responsible for providing for their children. This is true even when the parent is not living with the child. To ensure that a child has the support of both biological parents, a court will likely order a noncustodial parent to make routine child support payments when the parents are not living together.
Whether you are getting a divorce or are not living with your child’s other parent for another reason, understanding the state of Connecticut’s child support laws is important. Our child support lawyers at The Upton Law Firm can guide you through your duty to pay child support or your right to receive child support payments. Reach out to us today to learn more.
Who Has to Pay Child Support?
Both parents are responsible for providing for their child financially. When parents are living together and caring for a child jointly, it is assumed that both parents are doing this. The same is true when a child lives with just one parent; it is assumed that the custodial parent is fulfilling his or her obligation to the child. However, this is not the case for a noncustodial parent and a noncustodial parent will likely be ordered by the court to make child support payments as such. Keep in mind that only those with parental rights are obligated to provide for a child. This means that if paternity has not been established, an alleged father cannot be ordered to pay child support until this has been done.
How Much Child Support Does a Noncustodial Parent Have to Pay?
The amount of child support that a noncustodial parent must pay is based on each parents’ income and the number of children who will be supported by the child support payment. This is per the Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines, which uses a mathematical formula to calculate child support. As explained by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, the court will also enter a medical insurance order when insurance is not available through an employer. Further, the court has discretion in altering the guidelines when circumstances warrant doing so.
While there may be deviation from the guidelines when appropriate, in the majority of cases, a child support order will be calculated by adding up both parents’ combined weekly net income, determining what percentage of the income each party is responsible for generating, and considering the number of children. For example, as found in the guidelines, parents with a combined weekly net income of $2,500 are responsible for paying $377 in child support for one child. If the noncustodial parent earns $1,500 of the $2,500, or 60 percent of the combined net income, then the noncustodial parent is responsible for 60 percent of the support obligation (60 percent of $377), or approximately $226. The more money parents make, the larger the child support obligation will be.
How to Seek a Child Support Payment
If you are the primary caregiver for your child and you are not receiving child support and there is not yet a child support order in place, you should not hesitate to seek legal help immediately and learn more about how to get child support. You can either file a request for child support directly with the court or call DDS Bureau of Child Enforcement Office to learn more about opening a child support case.
Modifying a Child Support Order
One question that our clients frequently ask is whether or not a child support order can be modified after it has been issued by a court. Modifications of judgments in family law matters can be changed at a later date, but doing so is usually not easy. As found in Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-86(a), a child support order can be altered or modified only when either party proves that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred or can demonstrate that the original order deviates so greatly from our state’s child support guidelines that modification is appropriate.
A substantial change in circumstances does not just mean no longer believing that the child support order is fair; rather, examples of changes in circumstances that may warrant modification include: a change in custody of the child, such as the child now living with the support-paying parent; a significant change in income, such as the support-paying parent losing their job; or a major health event, such as the child or a parent suffering a disability. In all cases, modification will not be granted unless the court finds that modifying the original order serves the best interests of the child and that the order provides the child with “the active and consistent involvement of both parents commensurate with their abilities and interests.”
Our Child Support Legal Services
Whether you are a support-seeking parent or a parent who is being asked to make child support payments, our family law attorneys at The Upton Law Firm can help. Our child support legal services include:
- Opening child support cases – If you are a custodial parent who wants to seek child support payments, we can guide you in opening your child support case.
- Representing you in a child support case – You surely want to receive a fair child support amount, or not be asked to pay more than is reasonable. While the court uses child support guidelines, it will also deviate from these guidelines when appropriate. We review all elements of your situation to ensure that a child support order is fair and supports your and your child’s best interests.
- Modification – if you need to modify a child support order for any reason, our lawyers can help. We have successfully managed dozens of modification cases over the years and have a refined knowledge of the law and what the court is looking for.
- Enforcement – Once a court issues a child support order, a party is legally obligated to adhere to it and make payments on time and in full. If the support-paying parent is not fulfilling their obligation to make support payment, call our law firm. We can help you in understanding your rights to enforce a child support order.
Experienced Lawyers Fighting for You
Our lawyers know how important child support payments are. If you have questions about child support, we can help. For legal services you can trust, please call our law firm today at 860-893-0558. You can also visit our West Hartford office in person or tell us more about your legal needs by filling out the contact form on our website.