Connecticut Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
In Connecticut, the amount of child support is figured based on income alone, and parenting time doesn't factor into the formula.
Connecticut courts may deviate from the strict child support guidelines on a case-by-case basis when the non-residential parent's visitation time greatly exceeds what is considered customary. Accurate parenting time numbers can directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Connecticut attorneys and judges might rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your parenting time percentages are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.
To calculate parenting time percentages, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count full days, half days, and quarter days for a whole year. This method is error-prone when you try to figure out holidays, summer breaks and vacations.
The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your total days to see if they were estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total number of days. You will also see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how many days you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Connecticut family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. In many states, physical custody has an impact on the amount of child support, but not in Connecticut.
Connecticut sole physical custody: The children reside with and are supervised by the residential parent, while the other parent is entitled to visitations. If parents cannot work out a visitation schedule, Connecticut family courts implement a standard schedule.
Connecticut shared physical custody: Each parent has significant periods of physical custody, which allows them frequent and continuing contact with their children. According to Connecticut Child Support Guidelines, shared physical custody happens when the non-custodial parent exercises care for children for periods of time that exceed a normal visitation schedule. The guidelines state that joint physical custody will not necessarily mean equal amounts of time between parents.
In Connecticut, the child support formula is the same for sole and shared physical custody. Unlike many other states, Connecticut gives no automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.
The only way parenting time can influence the amount of child support you receive or pay is when the family court deems the visitations are substantially in excess of those usually approved by the court. The court will make modifications to child support on a case-by-case basis.
Your best chance for accurate child support is to show the court that your parenting time will greatly exceed what is standard for your county to approve. More parenting time may mean abatement in child support. Connecticut family courts make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Connecticut will only consider an adjustment to the child support formula if it exceeds what is considered a normal visitation schedule.
In Connecticut, a normal visitation schedule typically consists of two overnights on alternate weekends; alternate holidays, two weeks of vacation and other short visits.
Connecticut family courts do not use any kind of formula to figure shared custody child support amounts in order to discourage attempts to increase time sharing as a way to lower child support. In a case-by-case basis, the Connecticut court can make adjustments to child support amounts.
Your best chance for accurate child support is to show the court that your parenting time will greatly exceed what is standard for the state to approve. More parenting time may mean abatement in child support.
Use Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your parenting time hours to ensure the court is dealing with all the facts, rather than estimates.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert earns $4,000 per month, while Mary earns $2,400 per month after allowable deductions. They have two children
See how the child support adjusts with each example:
- Scenario #1: Robert is the non-custodial parent and pays $1,086 in child support to Mary each month.
- Scenario #2: If Mary is the non-custodial parent, she pays $652 in child support to Robert each month.
- Scenario #3: If Robert and Mary both earn $4,000 per month, and Robert is the non-custodial parent, he pays $979 in child support to Mary each month.
In Connecticut, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent, regardless of who is the higher earner. Unless a Connecticut family court rules otherwise, parenting time does not have an impact on child support amounts.
Connecticut's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for joint custody child support:
- The residential parent's monthly gross income, including bonuses and overtime
- The non-residential parent's monthly gross income, including bonuses and overtime
- The number of children under the age of 19, or 23 if enrolled full time in post-secondary education
- The cost of any work-related childcare
- The cost of health insurance premiums for the children
- A pre-existing child support or alimony obligation by either parent
Parenting time only figures into a child support formula when you can show that your total parenting time is substantially in excess of what is usually approved by the Connecticut family courts.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate parenting time totals help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Connecticut law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Connecticut, remember these 5 things:
- Connecticut figures child support amounts based on a strict income formula that includes numbers such as gross monthly income and health care premiums for the children.
- Connecticut law allows the courts to deviate from the guidelines when shared physical custody or visitation rights are substantially in excess of those customarily approved or ordered.
- To show the court your accurate parenting time numbers, you must provide calculations to the hour of your actual parenting time and show how that compares to Connecticut's typical parenting time schedule.
- A Connecticut family court may agree to an abatement of child support due to above average parenting time that exceeds the county's customary visitation guidelines.
- Connecticut courts don't rely on a formula for shared custody child support amounts in order to discourage disputes over parenting time solely to make changes to child support amounts.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a Connecticut family court.