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Child Support in Connecticut - Questions and Answers For The Parent Who PAYS Child Support

This article was produced by LARCC in cooperation with CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Child Support in Connecticut - Questions and Answers For The Parent Who PAYS Child Support

Video: How to File for Divorce

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.

For take-home pay below $1000 per week, you will pay about
25% of take-home pay for 1 child
35% of take-home pay for 2 children
40% of take-home pay for 3 children

How long will I pay child support?

Usually, child support is paid until the child is 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
  • You are in prison or unemployed (call 1-800-228-KIDS to ask that your support amount 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, and exercise their visitation and custody rights.

Can I get the child support amount changed?

Yes. You can ask to have your payment lowered.  The payment might go down if there was a big change in your income, the other parent’s income, or in other circumstances about the child, for example if the child is no longer living with the other parent.  To ask for a change in the amount

  • Get free help from SES (Support Enforcement Services)
    Ask SES to review your support order. You can get a form online at www.jud.ct.gov/childsupport or call the Child Support Hotline at 1-800-228-KIDS. SES will ask the court to change the order if it finds the court order is too low, or too high.
  • Do it on your own.
    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, located in most courthouses.  You can get a copy of How to Change Your Child Support Order at Court Service Centers or online at www.jud.ct.gov/childsupport

The court can change the amount UP or DOWN so you should talk with a lawyer first. Call the Children’s Law Line at 1-888-529-3667 for 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 the amount be lowered.

The state’s Child Support Enforcement has several parts that help collect support in different ways.  It might collect back support by taking the money from your paycheck, tax refund, and 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 had the ability to pay, the court could find you in contempt and order you to

  • Make lump sum payments
  • Search for work
  • Report back to court

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

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 that says “Do not contact me any more.” Make sure you keep a copy.  If they have threatened you, call the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649 or ask a lawyer for help.

This booklet was produced by the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut in cooperation with Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and Statewide Legal Services. The information in this booklet is based on laws in Connecticut as of October 2014. We hope that the information is helpful. It is not intended as legal advice. For advice on your situation, call Statewide Legal Services or contact a lawyer.

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 web site is for Connecticut residents only.
Visit LawHelp.org to find a legal services program and/or a legal information web site in your area.