Understanding Child Support2017-10-02T23:13:14+00:00

Child support is an ongoing, periodic payment from one parent to another parent for the financial benefit of their mutual children. In Connecticut, you must have a court order to receive child support. There are three ways to get a court order:

(1) you can hire an attorney to represent you in court,

(2) you can represent yourself in court, or

(3) apply for free child support services offered by the state by contacting Connecticut’s Department of Social Services.

To determine if child support is needed, the court will look to the “age, health, station, occupation, earning capacity, amount and sources of income, estate, vocational skills and employability of each of the parents, and the age, health, station, occupation, educational status and expectation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of the child.” See Section 46b-84  for the full text of the law.

In Connecticut, there are a set of guidelines (called Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines) that the court must follow when determining fair and consistent child support orders. One of the main purposes of the guidelines is to provide uniform procedures for establishing child support.

To calculate the amount of child support awarded, there is a mathematical formula that the court uses, which is based on the Income Shares Model. The Income Shares Model presumes that the child should receive the same proportion of income as he or she would have received if the parents lived together. The Income Shares Model takes into consideration the income of both parents. The formula takes the weekly net income of both parents and then uses a chart to determine how much each child should receive based on the level of income.

You will need to fill out a Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines Worksheet to determine the amount of child support required in your case. Remember, the amount of child support can always be modified as the circumstances of the parents change.

In Connecticut, child support can only be changed by a court order. You may get a court order by hiring an attorney to ask the court, representing yourself and asking the court, or asking Support Enforcement to assist you. You will need to attend the court hearing if you are not representing yourself, as well.