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How child support is determined in Connecticut

In Connecticut, each parent is expected to spend a certain percentage of his or her income on their child or children. When a couple splits, it is believed that the same amount of financial support should still be going towards the cost of raising the child. This principle influences the court's determination of how much each parent should be paying, with the non-custodial parent's contribution taking the form of child support.

Connecticut uses the Income Shares Model to determine how much the non-custodial parent should pay in child support. Under this model, both parents are responsible for providing the child with the same amount of financial support as they would if they were still living together. The model considers both parents' financial circumstances while reflecting what the average cost of raising a child is based on the parents' income and family sizes.

The Income Shares Model was created using economic studies that determined how much of an intact family's income went toward raising the child or children. It was found that as the number of children in the family grew, the less the family spent on each child. This is because two or more children share household items, and the amount of income going towards each child decreases in order to cover the entire family.

This model allows parents to have an idea of how much of their combined income should be going towards the cost of raising the child. If a non-custodial parent refuses to pay his or her child support obligation, a family law attorney could potentially provide evidence of the amount that the noncustodial parent should be paying based on the amount of income that he or she is bringing in. Further, the attorney may potentially argue for a larger amount if the child suffers medical or mental issues that warrant a greater contribution.

Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch, "Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines", August 28, 2014

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