Every parent is obligated to provide financial support for their children. The obligation applies whether they are married to the co-parent or not, and whether they have a relationship with the child or not.

Contact a local family attorney if you are having trouble agreeing on child support with your co-parent or if your current arrangement is not working. A Fairfield child support lawyer can help you understand the child support system and ensure it works properly for your family.

Support Amount Is Set By Law

Connecticut sets a minimum child support payment based on a formula. The formula considers:

  • Each parent’s net income
  • How many children they have together
  • How many other children either parent supports
  • How much time the children spend with each parent
  • Childcare and health insurance costs

If one or more children have extraordinary health or educational needs, the expense of meeting those needs is also a factor in the child support equation.

When parents divorce or enter a custody agreement, the residential parent—who is the parent the children live with most of the time—may seek child support. Ideally, the parents agree to a child support arrangement, which they submit to the judge for approval. The formula amount is the minimum payment except in extraordinary circumstances; if the paying parent supports several children, is on a low or erratic income, or has chronic health issues that prevent them from earning more, the court could approve a child support payment lower than the threshold amount.

Courts strive to make decisions that provide stability for children, so if the parents have a high income, the judge might consider a higher payment to maintain the children’s standard of living at the pre-divorce level. Connecticut Agencies Regulations § 46b-215a-2c states that when the parents’ combined net income exceeds $4,000 per week, the number derived from the formula is still the minimum payment. Still, the judge should consider, on a case-by-case basis, how much the parents are accustomed to spending on the children to reach a fair child support amount. A well-practiced Fairfield child support attorney can help a parent determine a reasonable amount that allows the children to continue to enjoy their accustomed lifestyle.

Paying and Receiving Child Support in Connecticut

Connecticut requires parents to pay child support through an electronic state-run system. A qualified child support lawyer in Fairfield can explain how to set up an account to use the automated system. Once it receives a payment, the Child Support Payment Resource Center either transfers the funds into the receiving parent’s bank account or issues a pre-paid Visa card to the receiving parent.

Using this system to distribute child support payments has several advantages. It relieves parents of the need to interact over child support, which can lead to tense confrontations. Paying through the Child Support Payment Resource Center also allows the state to track payments, so proof is available if a dispute arises.

Payors can have funds automatically deducted from their bank accounts on a schedule they choose. Alternatively, a paying parent could make a payment manually or pay with a credit or debit card.

Modification or Enforcement of a Child Support Order

A child support order will be based on current income and circumstances. As time passes, circumstances might change that may require a modification of the order. A parent also might need to return to court if the paying parent falls behind on their payments.

The law provides that if applying the formula to the parents’ current financial situation results in a 15 percent change to the payment amount, a payment modification is appropriate. In such cases, the parents could agree to a modification and submit it to the court, or the parent seeking a modification could petition the court with the help of a proactive child support attorney in Fairfield. However, even when the parents agree to a change, the paying parent must continue to pay according to the original order until the judge changes it.

If a paying parent falls behind on their payments, the receiving parent has several options. They could seek help from the Connecticut Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, which has the authority to:

  • Garnishee a paying parent’s wages
  • Freeze a paying parent’s bank account
  • Suspend a paying parent’s driver’s license
  • Take other actions to bring the delinquent parent’s payments up to date

It is sometimes faster to work with a local legal professional to bring a motion for contempt of the court’s child support order.

Work With a Fairfield Attorney on Child Support Issues

Both parents must contribute financially to their children’s well-being and upbringing. Although a formula determines the payment amount in most cases, problems sometimes arise if an order does not reflect a parent’s current circumstances.

Contact a Fairfield child support lawyer if you need help obtaining child support, changing an order, or enforcing an existing child support order. Schedule an initial consultation today.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
1305 Post Road, Suite 205 Fairfield CT 06824 (203) 990-1387