Paying Child Support in Connecticut

This article was produced by CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Paying Child Support in Connecticut

How does the court decide the support amount?

The court decides the amount based on

  • your income,
  • the other parent's income, and
  • state guidelines.

The court may order more support for health expenses or child care.

How much will I pay?

If your take-home pay is below $1,000 per week, you will pay about

  • 25% of take-home pay for 1 child,
  • 35% of take-home pay for 2 children, or
  • 40% of take-home pay for 3 children.

How long will I pay child support?

Child support is usually paid until the child turns 18 or leaves high school.  You will probably continue paying even if

  • the child’s other parent gets married or lives with someone else,
  • you don’t see the child, or
  • you are in prison or unemployed (in this case, call 1-800-228-KIDS to ask for your support amount to be lowered).

Can I visit or get custody of my child if I don’t pay?

Yes.  Even if there are problems collecting support, both parents have the right to ask for visitation and custody.

Can I get the child support amount changed?

 You can ask to have your payment lowered. The payment might go down if there was a big change to your income, to the other parent’s income, or to other circumstances that involve the child (for example, if the child no longer lives with the other parent).  Here is how to ask for a change in the amount:

  • Get free help from Support Enforcement Services (SES). Ask SES to review your support order. You can get a form online at www.jud.ct.gov/childsupport or by calling the Child Support Hotline at 1-800-228-KIDS. If SES finds the court order is too low or too high, they will ask the court to change the order.
  • Do it on your own. To ask the court to change the order, you will have to file papers in court asking for a Modification. You can get help at Court Service Centers, which are located in most courthouses.  You can get a copy of the pamphlet, How to Change Your Child Support Order, at your local Court Service Center or online at www.ctlawhelp.org/how-to-change-child-support-order-connecticut.

The court can increase or decrease the support amount, so you should talk with a lawyer first. Call the Children’s Law Line at 1-888-529-3667 for more information.

What happens if I’m behind on my payments?

Pay as much as you can and try to make up the support payments you missed. Keep making payments, even if you don’t pay the full amount.

Call 1-888-233-7223 to get information about your payments. Call 1-800-228-KIDS to ask for the amount to be lowered.

If you are behind on making payments, Support Enforcement Services can collect back child support in different ways, including by taking money from your paycheck, tax refund, and/or bank account.

It can also

  • put a lien on your property,
  • report you to credit bureaus, and
  • stop you from getting a passport.

If you disobeyed a court order that you knew about and were able to pay, the court could find you in contempt and order you to

  • make lump sum payments,
  • search for work, or
  • come back to court.

If you don’t do what the court orders, you could lose your driver’s license or be sent to jail.

Note: The judge will appoint a lawyer for you if your income is very low and you face jail time.

Call 1-800-228-KIDS to have your support amount reviewed.

A collection agency keeps contacting me. What should I do?

You can send the collection agency a letter asking them not to contact you anymore. Make sure you keep a copy for your records.  If they have threatened you, call the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649 or ask a lawyer for help.

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

Not from Connecticut?

Most of the information on this website is for Connecticut residents only.
Find help in another state.