Child Support

Child support stems from parents’ duty to support their minor children.  Together with alimony and property division, child support is one of the three major financial issues in any divorce with children, both for the parent who expects to pay child support and for the parent who expects to receive child support.  The amount of child support you either receive or pay will have a meaningful impact on your financial future, so working with an experienced family law attorney is essential.

Child Support Basics

Child support payments are meant to cover a broad range of expenses for the minor child, including the basics — shelter, food, and clothes.  They do not include extracurricular activities, unreimbursed medical expenses, or summer camps.  Under most circumstances, child support is paid until a child turns 18.  When a child has not graduated from high school by age 18, child support payments typically continue until the earlier of the child’s (1) graduation from high school or (2) 19th birthday.

Amount of Child Support

When determining child support, the court shall consider the respective:

  • age
  • health
  • station
  • occupation
  • earning capacity
  • amount and sources of income
  • estate
  • vocational skills

of each of the parents and of the child, as well as the needs of the child.  Contrary to a very common child support myth, shared physical custody alone does not relieve a parent of his or her child support obligation.

Connecticut Child Support Calculation

The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines provide a mathematical formula to provide some predictability and consistency when determining child support.  Courts consider the guidelines in addition to (not instead of) the factors listed above.  But that’s not the end of the story.  Importantly, courts can “deviate” from default child support calculation based on the “deviation criteria” discussed below.

High Net Worth Divorce & Child Support

Connecticut Child Support Guidelines only address situations where the family’s combined net weekly income falls between $0 – $4,000. Child support is determined on a case-by-case basis for families where the parents’ combined exceeds $4,000.

Child Support Deviations

For some families, it’s more appropriate to “deviate” from the calculation under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines.  Possible deviation criteria include:

The following are examples of permissible deviation criteria:

  • certain other financial resources available to a parent
  • extraordinary expenses for the care and maintenance of the child
  • extraordinary parental expenses
  • needs of a parent’s other dependents
  • coordination of total family support.

Child support deviations are nuanced and Freed Marcroft’s family law attorneys are well-versed in the complexities.

Child Support Modifications

If you are currently paying or receiving child support and you or ex have had a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to get a post-judgment child support modification to your payment requirements.  For example, the court may increase child support if a parent has more income — for example due to new, higher-paying employment, a growing business, or a significant raise. On the other hand, a court may reduce child support payments if a parent becomes disabled, or was laid off.  It’s important to know that all child support modifications — even when you are your spouse agree — must be formalized through the court.

Our experienced family law attorneys will devise and implement a legal strategy for child support rooted in your personal and goals.