Children have the right to financial support from both parents. The obligation to provide financially for a child exists regardless of custody, visitation, or other issues.
A parent seeking child support must first file a petition with the court. The petition is often part of a divorce decree or might stand alone if parents are unmarried. Working with a family attorney ensures the court has the information it needs to enter an enforceable support order. Let our Westport child support lawyers prepare the initial petition or represent you in an action to modify or enforce child support.
Determining the Amount of Child Support
A child is entitled to their parents’ support until they turn 18. If the child has not graduated from high school by their 18th birthday, the obligation could extend until graduation or the child’s 19th birthday, whichever comes first. A disabled child could receive support until age 21 in some cases.
Connecticut Administrative Regulations § 46b-215a-2c explains the basic structure of determining how much child support a parent owes. The formula considers the following factors, among others, when calculating the support amount:
- Each parent’s net weekly income
- How many children each of you supports
- The number of minor children you and your co-parent have together
- How much time do the shared children spend at your respective homes
- A child’s extraordinary expenses due to physical or mental health conditions or educational needs
The formula also incorporates work or school-related childcare costs and unreimbursed medical expenses.
The formula produces a minimum child support payment the non-custodial parent must make to the other. However, the court can adjust the amount depending on a parent’s age, health, earning capacity, and other factors. For example, when your combined net income exceeds $4,000 per week, courts expect the child support amount to be enough to maintain the children’s lifestyle. The key is that child support must be in the child’s best interests. Our Westport attorneys can review your circumstances to help you understand the amount of child support you may be entitled to or required to pay.
Child Support Modification Is Sometimes Appropriate
Parents can modify the child support order if changes in a child’s needs or a parent’s circumstances require it. For example, if applying the formula using current financial information would result in a change of at least 15 percent from the current payment amount, a court would consider a child support modification request.
When parents are high-income, the courts often find in the original order that the state’s child support guidelines are inappropriate or inapplicable. If the court made such a finding in your case, you could still seek a modification. However, you must show that a significant change in circumstances justifies the modification.
Our Westport attorneys can review your situation and determine whether a court is likely to consider a change substantial enough to merit a modification in a support obligation.
Trust in a Westport Child Support Attorney for Dedicated Legal Guidance
Child support will be an issue you must deal with as long as your children are minors. If conflict or questions arise, seek advice from a legal professional—self-help often leads to more significant problems.
Our Westport child support lawyers can assist with the initial child support petition and help you if there are conflicts later. Reach out to our team to learn more.