All parents have a legal obligation to support their children. It doesn’t matter if you are married to the other parent or not. You cannot quit your job or take a pay cut to reduce your support obligation. The child support award is based upon what you can earn, whether or not you choose to work. The obligation to support our children extends to custodial as well as non-custodial parents. It is considered your most important financial concern.
Connecticut uses child support guidelines to determine what your obligation is. The guidelines use a mathematical formula to determine how much you should pay. A Judge can decide if there should be a deviation from the child support calculated. If there is a deviation, it may mean you pay less or you pay more than the mathematical formula determined. The deviation is based upon your child’s needs whether it is a shared parenting plan or extraordinary expenses due to a child’s medical condition.
The child support guidelines use a joint income approach to determine the joint obligation of these parents to support the child/ren. Your expenses should be adjusted to allow you the income needed to pay child support. After that joint support obligation is calculated, it is proportionally assigned to the parents based upon what each earns or could earn. The custodial parent is expected to make their contribution by paying the rent, food, clothing, utility bills and the like. The non-custodial parent is expected to make a weekly payment to the custodial parent to be used by them to pay the other parent’s share of these same expenses.
Child support also requires parents to pay a share of child care expenses when parents work and unreimbursed medical expenses for the child/ren. The guidelines calculate the proportionate share to be paid by each parent.
There are some paycheck deductions that can be used to determine your net income and others that are not permitted. The tax withholding and medical insurance deductions reduce your gross income, for example, but your 401K Deduction does not. It is a voluntary contribution.
If you are the parent required to pay child support there may be a wage garnishment by the State of Connecticut to insure the child support is paid. In some cases, the parents may agree it can be paid directly to the other parent. If you are laid off, you may be able to ask the child support be reduced. If a person paying child support received a substantial pay increase, the custodial parent may ask child support be increased.
This should not be taken as legal advice and the reader is advised to contact an attorney to determine their rights. The law varies from state to state.