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Do We Have to Follow the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines?

Connecticut Child Support Attorney Meghan Freed What Are the Automatic Order in a Connecticut DivorceMany people wonder whether they can agree not to follow the calculation under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines.  Some people want to know if they can waive child support, for others, their view of what will be best for their children is something other what results from the Guidelines’ calculation.

The amount of child support calculated under the Guidelines is presumed to be the correct amount.  However, there are circumstances in which a “deviation” from the presumptive amount of support provided for by the Guidelines is appropriate.

A deviation occurs when the parents agree between themselves to a lesser or higher amount of child support than is dictated by the formula, or when a Judge decides that the calculation under the Guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate in a particular case.

Connecticut Child Support Guidelines Deviation Criteria

In order to deviate from the support calculated under the guidelines, (1) the presumptive amount of support must first be stated and (2) specific deviation criteria must be cited.

Here are the six deviation criteria available under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines:

  • Other financial resources available to a parent.  Some parents may have financial resources that are not included in the definition of “net income” that’s used to calculate child support, but could be used by that parent for his or her own needs or the child’s needs.
  • Extraordinary expenses for the care or maintenance of a child. Extraordinary expenses must be essential for the proper care of a child, and are limited to educational expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, and expenses for special needs.
  • Extraordinary parental expenses. Some parents may incur extra expenses that aren’t deducted from “gross income” under the Child Support Guidelines, but which are necessary for the parent to: (1) maintain a satisfactory parental relationship with the child, (2) continue employment, or (3) provide for the parent’s own medical needs.  Only significant visitation expenses, job-related unreimbursed employment expenses, and un-reimbursable medical and disability-related expenses can be considered.
  • Needs of a parent’s other dependents. If a parent has other dependents that haven’t already been taken into account, it may be possible to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines.
  • Coordination of total family support. Sometimes child support is considered in conjunction with a determination of total family support.  In order to determine total family support, you would look at how assets and debts were divided, any alimony, and tax implications.
  • Special circumstances.  This is a bit of a “catch all” that addresses situations that are not covered in the other criteria, but where equity warrants a deviation. The Guidelines list five types of special circumstances:
    • Shared physical custody
    • Extraordinary disparity in parental income
    • Total child support exceeds 55% of the payor’s net income
    • Best interests of the child
    • Other equitable factors

Next Steps

To learn more about how child support is calculated under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines, please check out this article.  Or, head here to learn more about who child support works when there is shared custody.

If you have questions or want to learn more about how child support might work in your specific situation, please contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.

Written by Meghan Freed