Child Support and Your Divorce

For those of us with kids (me included) they bring so much joy into our lives, when they are not getting on our nerves.  But we don’t hold that against them and we try our best to provide for them financially in every way.  When a divorcing couple has kids involved they have to consider how that child will be taken care of financially during and after the divorce.  Child support payments are a necessary topic that has to be addressed.  To have a better understanding of this topic so you can better prepare and participate in your mediation here are some important things to note about child support orders.  

1) Why are child support orders necessary?  Well, there is the moral obligation that every parent undertakes when they have children.  Additionally, child support orders are governed by statutory provisions, but the main reason for support orders are the court’s requirement that parents support their children, and that the amount of that support should be based on the parents respective abilities.   

2) How does the court determine the correct amount of child support?  Connecticut courts follow the Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of support based on the combined net income of the parents, and other considerations.  The reasoning behind using the guideline’s calculation method is to ensure the child support order is calculated in such a way that the child will still receive the same percentage of support from their parents that he or she would have received had the parents continued to live together as an intact family.  The guidelines are also used to compute each parent’s share of the unreimbursed medical expenses and work related child care costs for each child, were applicable.  Child support guidelines are considered in every child support determination, even when the court or parents decide to deviate from those amounts determined by the guidelines.  

3) Who pays and how often?  Generally parents are the only ones liable for child support.  However, there are some rare circumstances in which other people may be liable for child support.  Child support orders can be ordered as part of your marriage dissolution, your application for custody, or support petition.  Child support is calculated on a weekly basis but other arrangements can be made such as payments made biweekly, or monthly.

4) Do you have to follow the child support guidelines?  Yes, and No.  At a minimum the, guidelines have to be used to calculate what the child support order should be.  When the court (or parties by agreement) come up with an amount that is different than would be ordered according to the guidelines, that is considered a deviation.  To justify a deviation the guidelines allow for certain deviation criteria including, but not limited to other financial resources of the parents, and or children.  Whether the parent paying support has other dependent children who are not the subject of the current support order, and whether there is a shared physical custody arrangement.  

5)  What happens if your situation changes in the future?  Child support orders are modifiable if there has been a substantial change in circumstances or a substantial deviation from the child support guidelines.  If one of those situations occurs one of the parents would need file a motion for modification.

6) How long do I have to pay child support?  Child support terminates when the child reaches 18, but if the child is still enrolled in high school it does not terminate until the child is no longer in high school (graduates or drops out), or when the child reaches age 19, whichever comes sooner.

Our goal in mediation is to not only help you through your divorce, it is also to help create the best possible framework for your life after the divorce.  One way of ensuring this is to make the best possible arrangements for the benefit of your children to keep their life as close to stable as it was before the divorce.  By understanding child support you are better equipped to create support orders that can be in the best interest of you and your children during, and after the divorce.  

The Law Office of N. Gladstone Brown has helped couples navigate this area of their divorce to come up with the best solutions to the issue of child support.  If you need help with your child support agreement or any other area as part of your divorce mediation, visit our website, give us a call , or email us.