Like other states, Connecticut courts use Child Support Guidelines which apply state-wide. The point of these Guidelines is to make sure that child support orders stay relatively consistent across the state.
They are also there to ensure that the child support ordered is fair. The children should get their needs met after a divorce, but this should happen without leaving one parent facing financial hardship.
In many cases, it is also fairly simple to apply these Guidelines, sometimes even by just plugging in information from each parent’s regular paycheck.
However, even for those who are not high-earners, child support is not always a straightforward issue. Sometimes, resolving what is the right amount of child support can involve negotiation or even a court hearing.
Calculating a parent’s income is not always just about looking at a paystub
Many Connecticut parents do not earn their income at a regular job with a fixed salary or hourly wage. In this case, a parent’s paystub may not give an accurate picture of a parent’s true ability to pay child support.
For example, self-employed parents or those who are earning income from their own business have to pay support on this income.
While tax returns may be helpful for documenting this income, in some cases, what counts as income for child support purposes is not the same as what may appear on a tax return.
Likewise, commissions and tips, as well as certain fringe benefits, like guaranteed bonuses, profit sharing plans and even military benefits, may count as income.
Finally, spouses in Eastern Connecticut should remember that even regular gifts, such as free rent or other help from their relatives, count as income for child support purposes even if these gifts are not taxable.
In some cases, a parent may need to ask for a deviation from the Guidelines
Parents from all walks of life may find that they need to ask a judge to deviate from the Guidelines for a number of reasons, and they are allowed to do so in many circumstances.
For example, many parents raise children with special needs and know that these special often require extra expenses on an ongoing basis. Both parents should share in these.