This is part 2 of a 2 blog series about Child Support calculations in Connecticut. Most responsible parents want to remain financially responsible for their children; however calculating child support is no easy task. We are providing this summary of changes as a tool for parents or attorneys who require understanding of the new changes. On July 1st 2015, the Child Support Guidelines have changed. The following is a summary of all major changes in the new CT Guideline, as published by the State of Connecticut Commission for Child Support Guidelines.

(b) Summary of changes

This subsection of the preamble identifies the difference between new guidelines and the 2005 guidelines to quickly orient those who are familiar with the guidelines to the changes. Purely technical changes, such as renumbering, punctuation, or minor language changes that do not significantly alter the meaning of the provision are omitted from this discussion. More information on the reasons for significant changes is found later in the preamble.

  • There have been changes made to the definitions section.
  • Allowable deductions from gross income

If the person seeking the award is seeking a downward modification, no deduction will be allowed for another award if, when the other award entered, the award for which modification is sought was taken into consideration

(3)Gross income

Inclusions in gross income

  • Incentive based compensation (such as stock option, restricted stock, restricted stock units, restricted stock rights and other forms of delayed or deferred compensation) if, and, or when vested or exercisable, clarified as Gross Income inclusion.
  • Social Security Benefits Paid to the parent for the parent’s own needs are included in gross income, provided when the parent whose income is being determined receives both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security disability or Social Security retirement benefits, the Social Security income inclusion shall not exceed $5 per week.
  • The commission clarified that Social Security dependency benefits paid on behalf of a child whose support is being determined is included in the income of the parent on whose earnings records the dependency benefit was determined Jenkins v. Jenkins, 243 Conn. 584 (1998)

(4) Exclusions from gross income

Social Security disability benefits or Social Security retirement benefits in excess of $5 per week are now excluded when the recipient also receives a Supplemental Security Income supplement to bring his or her income up to the Supplemental Security Income subsistence threshold.

(5) Net disposable income

Alimony paid by one of the parents to the other is no longer added to the net income of the receiving parent, or deducted from the net income of the paying parent, in the calculation of net disposable income, for purposes of calculating unreimbursed medical and child care contribution amounts.

(6) Child support obligations for higher incomes

Child support when parents’ net weekly income exceeds $4,000 shall be determined consistent with statutory criteria, including C.G.S 46b-84(d)

  • The minimum presumptive support amount shall be the support amount at the $4,000 net weekly income.
  • The maximum presumptive support amount shall be determined by multiplying the parents’ net weekly income by the applicable percentage shown at the $4,000 net income level.
  • The minimum and maximum presumptive amounts may be rebutted by application of the deviation criteria and/or statutory criteria including 46b-84(d)

(6) Supplemental orders as part of current support computation

Future income of unknown amounts such as bonuses and other incentive based compensation that is awarded in future years, or vests in future years, or can be exercised in future years, is required to be part of the child support award to be included in the award for the year in which such amounts are includible in income for tax purposes through the use of supplemental orders.

(7) Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations

  • The low-income obligor area is extended to slightly higher incomes.
  • The percentages and dollar amounts are adjusted.

(8) Child support for shared physical custody

  • The definition of shared physical custody is amended to provide that the physical residence of the child is shared when the child has substantially equal time and contact with each parent.
  • For shared physical custody, the presumptive support amount is the amount that the parent with higher income would pay to the other parent. Shared physical custody can be grounds for deviating, as under prior guidelines. These guidelines add an additional consideration where a deviation might be warranted in a shared physical custody situation where the parents have substantially equal income.

(9) Determining the amount of current support when another child resides with a parent

Revised the definition of “qualified child” by deleting the requirement that a parent be the child’s legal guardian or that the child live with the parent for specified periods of time. A qualified child does not include foster or step child.

(10) Health care coverage and expenses

  • Clarified that health care coverage for which awards are made includes, but is not limited to, medical care, mental health care, dental care or vision care.
  • Added provision that health care awards may include orders to pay a cash medical support order.
  • Added definition of health care expenses to cover a broad range of expenses.
  • Health care insurance and cash medical support cannot exceed “reasonable cost” as defined by statute.
  • Alimony is no longer considered when determining the parents’ percentage share of unreimbursed medical expenses.

(11) Child care contribution

  • A weekly dollar amount may be awarded if there is agreement by the parties or if there is non-payment of prior orders.
  • Alimony is no longer considered when determining the parents’ percentage share of child care contributions.

(12) Deviation criteria

  • Added factor to the shared physical custody criterion that both parents having substantially equal income may also be grounds for deviation.
  • Added criterion that total child support award exceeding 55% of obligor’s net income on any components of the award other than current support may also be grounds for deviation.

(13) Arrearage guidelines

Arrearage payment amount increases from 50% to 100% if the parents have no present duty to provide support to the child.

(14) Worksheet

  • Deletes reference to mother and father, substitutes Parent A and Parent B.
  • Added summary of orders to calculate total award as percentage of income obligor’s income.
  • Revised for plain language.
  • Alimony is no longer considered when determining the parents’ percentage share of unreimbursed medical expenses.
  • New line 35b to show total child support award as percentage of obligor’s income.

(15) Determining the amount of current support when another child resides with a parent

  • Definition of qualified child revised to remove the requirements with respect to legal guardian or child living with parent for specified periods of time.
  • A qualified child does not include a step child or foster child clarified.
Attorney Angela Green

Attorney Green works exclusively with couples or parties who would rather spend their energies and resources working constructively to resolve their differences rather than “winning the fight.” She helps spouses and litigants reach comprehensive, well informed agreements without the emotional and financial toll of court-based litigation. She has mediated hundreds of cases ranging from simple to complex financial matters, businesses, and high net worth cases.