By law, every child in the State of Connecticut is entitled to be supported by both parents. The State has enacted Child Support Guidelines which establish the rights and obligations of both parents with respect to the support of their children. The Child Support Guidelines apply regardless of relationship or marital status.
Child Support is an issue that needs to be resolved in Divorces and Dissolutions of Civil Unions when the parties have children. Custody actions also give rise to the issue of child support. And after judgments are entered, sometimes circumstances change in a way that might require a modification of previous child support orders. For example, a parent might lose or gain a job, or experience a change in income, or maybe the child being supported has reached the age of 18.
The right to be supported lies with the child. Neither parent can waive this right on behalf of the child. The payments are calculated based on strict statutory guidelines that consider the income of both parents and the number of children in the family. The calculations also include giving a credit for medical insurance payments. The child support guideline calculations also allocate responsibility for the payment of work related day care costs and medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance for the minor children.
There are rare exceptions when the Court will deviate from the guidelines, such as shared parenting plans or when parties intentionally reduce their income. In shared parenting arrangements, the amount of support from one parent to another can be adjusted, or eliminated entirely, depending on circumstances pertaining to that particular case. When a parent purposefully reduces income in hopes of avoiding a support order, the Court can impute an income to that parent based on past earnings history.
Child support is the obligation both parents have to support their children until they reach the age 18. If your child is still in high school when he or she reaches 18, then the obligation to support the child extends until they reach the age of 19 or graduate high school, whichever event occurs first. The payment of child support is not a taxable event for either parent. In other words, the parent paying support may not deduct the payment from their income for income tax purposes and the parent receiving the support does not include the payment in their income for income tax purposes.
Under current tax laws, until January 1st 2019, the parties can make an agreement, or the Court can enter an order requiring a payment of Unallocated Alimony and Child Support. In this instance, the “unallocated” payment of child support with alimony can be completely tax deductible to the payer, provided certain criteria are met in the order regarding payments. Recently however, the laws regarding the taxation of alimony were revised. Beginning January 1st, 2019, alimony awards will not be tax deductible to the payer or tax includible to the recipient. Our law office can facilitate your ability to make a decision regarding these financial concerns.
Child Support specifically does not cover extracurricular and/or college expenses. It is crucial to address these issues in addition to entering a child support order based on Connecticut State Child Support Guidelines. Each child is different and the needs they have financially concerning extra-curricular activities vary. Our lawyer has the experience and negotiation skills essential to achieving the actual result desired by the client for his or her child where possible.
Connecticut has enacted a Post-Majority Educational Support Law (College Educational Support Order) to assist parents when they can’t agree on the payment of their children’s college education. If parents do not have the financial arrangements in place at the time of their judgment for sending their children to college, they can and should ask the court to retain jurisdiction for the purposes of entering a college support order if and when their children do attend college. If they still need assistance allocating financial responsibility for college at the time they attend, the parents can return to court at that time for the Court’s assistance.
Having competent legal counsel to guide you through the negotiation and decision-making for these issues is essential. In the event negotiations are unsuccessful, our lawyer can litigate the matter at trial if necessary. Call for your free consultation with Attorney Karen Reynolds today.