What Is Child Support?
Child support is an important and complicated issue in Connecticut divorce and custody cases. Understanding what child support is and how it works will help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
What Does Child Support Cover?
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.
Read: Child Support Basics
What is the Amount of Child Support?
When determining child support, the court shall consider the respective:
- earning capacity
- amount and sources of income
- 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.
How is Child Support Calculated?
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.
What Are 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. Deviations occur in all approaches to family law cases, including litigation, collaborative divorce, and mediation.
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. But what happens in families with a high net worth or high income? Child support is determined on a case-by-case basis for families where the parents’ combined exceeds $4,000.
For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts.