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What is Child Support and When does it Occur in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, the responsibility of parents to their children is absolute, whether they are separated, divorced, or not. It is for this reason that the Connecticut child support or IV-D program exists. Essentially, child support is a court-ordered sum of money paid every month for a child’s care and medical expenses. Within the state, agencies in the executive and judicial branches of government work together to regulate and enforce the child support program, and also, assist families in obtaining child support services. These government agencies are the Superior Court, Support Enforcement Services (SES), Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) of the Department of Social Services (DSS), and Office of the Attorney General.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What is Connecticut Child Support?

The child support law in Connecticut is established under different chapters and sections of the state’s General Statutes, but primarily under Title 46b: Family Law (chapters 815 to 817). Relevant subdivisions include:

  • Chapter 815, Section 46b–37 (joint duty of spouses to support family)
  • Chapter 817 (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
  • Chapter 816 (support)
  • Chapter 815, Section 46b–56c (educational support orders), and more.

Under these statutes, every parent owes their child a duty of support, defined under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b–302 to mean the legal obligation of parents to raise and support their children. As such, a Superior Court judge or Family Support Magistrate may enter child support orders to ensure that non-custodial parents make periodic payments to cover their children’s living and health costs.

What Does Child Support Cover in Connecticut?

The purpose of child support payments in Connecticut is to ensure that parents who are legally separated, divorced, or otherwise living apart, adequately take care of their children’s needs and expenses. A child support order, as stated in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b–231(14), covers expenses in categories such as shelter, child care, food, education, transportation, utilities, extracurricular activities, healthcare, dental, and other related costs. The court may also include medical coverage (HUSKY Plan) and reasonable health insurance (if available from an employer) in a support order.

What is the Average Child Support Payment in Connecticut?

Connecticut’s formula for establishing child support amounts, titled Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines, is hinged on the Income Shares Model. This means that a child is entitled to receive the same amount in support, whether the parents live together or separately. Parents are also responsible for any extra costs that arise from living apart.

In Connecticut, child support is calculated based on the combined net weekly income of the parents, the percentage each parent contributes to that joint amount, and the number of children. In calculating a person’s gross income, the court considers both earned and unearned income sources such as stipends, hourly wages, bonuses/tips, salaries, veterans’ benefits, retirement income, dividends, self-earned income, education grants, and more.

Generally, there is no average child support payment in Connecticut. Each case is largely dependent on the parents’ incomes and as such, the amount ordered for support varies. Interested persons may, however, view the schedule of the support amounts, calculated based on the parents’ combined net weekly incomes, percentages, and number of children, on the Connecticut Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines (pages 10 through 17).

How Do I Apply for Child Support in Connecticut?

Individuals who want to obtain child support in Connecticut have three options available to them. Such persons may either hire an attorney to settle the case in a Superior Court, proceed with the case in court without a lawyer, or apply through the Connecticut child support or IV-D program offered by the DSS Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) at no cost.

To apply via the IV-D program, an interested parent may:

  • Fill an application form online and submit it via email to a local Department of Social Services office
  • Schedule an appointment with a child support agent, or
  • Contact a local DSS office to request the service.

The DSS/OCSS provides separate application forms based on the status of the applicant; that is, if the person is the custodial or non-custodial parent. Custodial parents must complete the Application for Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Services form and non-custodial parents, the Application for Non-Custodial Parent form.

Persons who prefer to submit this form by email may find the relevant address on the DSS/OCSS contact page. Individuals who want to schedule an appointment are advised to still complete the forms above before the appointment to speed up the process.

The DSS child support service is generally available to families and may be offered to those receiving medical benefits as well. However, persons who are receiving cash assistance (Temporary Family Assistance/TFA) do not need to apply as it is already included in their assistance. It should be noted that although there is no initial cost charged for an application, the OCSS may assess a yearly fee of $35 from support payments to a non-TFA custodial parent, if the total annual payment is $550 or more.

How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Connecticut?

Child support may stop when a child turns 18 or continue until the child finishes high school. In some cases, it can continue past the age of 18 if the child is dependent or until all past-due support payments have been collected. As such, the only way to get out of paying child support in Connecticut is to request a modification of the support order. Individuals may petition the court directly or through a private lawyer, or request a review and adjustment from the Support Enforcement Services (SES).

To petition the court, interested persons may file the Motion for Modification (JD-FM–174). This form can be obtained from the Family Forms page. For pro se parties, this page also contains instructions on filing the form. However, individuals can also request assistance in completing the form, as well as obtain information on court procedures, from a local Court Service Center located in the Superior courthouses.

To request a modification from the SES, complete the Written Request for Review and Adjustment form. Applicants may submit this form by fax (203) 624–3357, email, or mail:

Support Enforcement Services
Central Processing Unit - Review and Adjustment Unit
414 Chapel Street, 2nd Floor
PO Box 9691
New Haven, CT 06536–9691

If the SES approves the modification, the office will file the motion, serve the other parent, and both parties may be required to attend a court hearing. It is important to note that a modification of child support may be granted when there are valid changes in a parent’s circumstances such as an increase in income, loss of a job, loss/approval of financial assistance, incarceration/release from prison, emancipation, or permanent disability.

What is Back Child Support in Connecticut?

Back child support (arrears) in Connecticut refers to the amount of child support owed to a custodial parent or the state. Usually, this sum of money accumulates when noncustodial parents fail to meet their support obligations.

How Do I Get Back Child Support Paid in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, persons who fall behind on support payments for 4 weeks or more may have the Support Enforcement Services (SES) begin an action in court to recover the amount owed. Depending on the child support amount in default and if it is an IV-D case, these persons may incur sanctions such as property liens, tax offsets, consumer credit reporting, lottery offsets, seizure of financial assets, income withholding, passport denial, loss of driving privileges, or be accused of contempt of court.

Is there a Connecticut Statute of Limitation on Child Support?

No, there is no fixed period limiting the collection of child support payments in Connecticut. The state law does not also indicate a limitation for recovering back child support or arrears.

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