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Connecticut child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Connecticut child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Connecticut child support determined?

In Connecticut, either parent may be ordered to provide child support based on the following factors:

  • the financial resources of the child
  • the occupation and earning capacity of each parent
  • the amount and sources of income for each parent
  • the age and health of the child
  • the estate and needs of the child
  • the relative financial needs of the parents

Connecticut has official child support guidelines that outline the amounts to be paid that are based on a percentage of the income of the paying parent. These guidelines, which are assumed to be in the best interests of the child, will be followed unless the parents have agreed to an amount of child support considered fair and reasonable by the court – generally at least equal to the amount calculated by using the state guidelines.

The following percentages of net income are a general basis used in the Connecticut state child support guidelines.

  • one child 20%
  • two children 25%
  • three children 30 %
  • four children 35%
  • five children 40%
  • six children 45%

The court may deviate from these guidelines if the court believes it is in the best interest of the child to do so.

At what age does child support payments end?

If there is an unmarried child that’s reached 18, is a full-time high school student and lives with one of the parents, the parents will maintain their respective support if the child needs it, until the child completes the twelfth grade or reaches 19 years of age, whichever comes first. If the child becomes emancipated, the obligation to pay support ends.

Connecticut's custody guidelines:

Joint or sole custody may be awarded by the Connecticut courts based on the best interests of the child and the following factors:

  • the reason for divorce if it’s relevant to the best interests of the child
  • the wishes of the child if the child is capable of forming an intelligent choice and is of reasonable age
  • whether the party or parties satisfactorily completed the parenting education program as required by the court

Connecticut family law presumes that joint custody is the preferred form of custody if both parents have agreed to it.

Connecticut's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement of the divorcing parents. If it’s not, in Connecticut, either parent may be ordered by the court to provide medical insurance for the child. But generally, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through a parent’s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for Connecticut child support and custody ?

As in most states, court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children and the child's special needs.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Yes. Almost every state, including Connecticut, has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

Once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

There has been a nationwide movement encouraging parents to work together for the best interests of their children. Joint custody is now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan for divorcing parents.

In Connecticut, joint custody is presumed to be the form of custody that’s in the best interests of the child, if both parents have agreed to it.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children.

While it is a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities and major decisions affecting the children, it rarely works out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Usually one parent is named as the residential custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The residential custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician unless there is an objection from the other joint custodian.

How Connecticut determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree, the court will set visitation which is usually a combination of both parents' wishes.

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