Child support in Connecticut is figured using a child support calculator. The calculator uses both parents’ income, the number of children involved and the amount of time each parent has the children. It then runs a mathematical calculation to determine the amounts owed. The smaller parental amount is deducted from the largest, and the remainder is the child support still owed by the other parent.
That sounds simple enough, but there are factors that can make it more complex and less fair. For instance, what if you don’t have any income? The court may estimate your income based on your prior work history or what they believe you are able to earn, which may be the minimum wage for a fulltime job. Expecting you will find a job and be able to pay the calculated amounts, the child support order can go into effect.
What if you cannot find a job or cannot afford your child support payments? Child support payments are enforced by the Connecticut Office of Child Support Enforcement. Unfortunately, when many people find themselves unable to afford their support payments, they try to make deals with the other parent, or they make promises to pay, or they do nothing — bad ideas on all three. This leaves you open for enforcement or for the other parent to file a “contempt of court” order against you. You could end up being ordered to pay a lump sum; if you can’t pay the lump sum or arrearage due, you could end up incarcerated or lose your driver’s license.
Being upfront and making the first move when you cannot afford your child support payments gives you an opportunity to have your story told. An attorney can help you request a child support modification agreement and argue your case for you so that you and your co-parent can come to a fair agreement for the future.