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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

How does the court decide the support amount?

The court decides the support amount based on:

  • Your income,
  • The other parent's income, and
  • Connecticut's Child Support Guidelines.

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

What happens if I don’t pay?

See our related article about getting child support in Connecticut.

The Connecticut agency that collects child support is called Support Enforcement Services (SES).

If you don’t pay court-ordered child support, SES can collect what you owe from your:

  • Paycheck,
  • Tax refunds,
  • Lottery winnings,
  • Bank accounts, and more.

SES can also:

  • Report you to credit bureaus,
  • Put a lien on your property,
  • Stop you from getting a passport, and
  • Send you to court for contempt of court.

For information and advice about child support....call

Statewide Legal Services
1-800-453-3320

Child Support Hotline
1-800-228-5437
www.jud.ct.gov

What if I can’t afford the payments?

You can ask if your payments can be lowered. You can get help from SES, do it on your own, or
get help from Statewide Legal Services.

  • Get help from SES.
    Ask SES to review your support order. You can get a form online (www.jud.ct.gov) or call the Child Support Hotline (1-800-228-5437). If SES finds the court order is too high (or too low), SES would ask the court to change the order.
  • Do it on your own.
    Ask the court to change the order. Read the booklet, "How to Change Your Child Support Order." You can get a copy at the court or online (www.jud.ct.gov).
  • Get help from Statewide Legal Services.
    Call 1-800-453-3320.

I am behind on my child support payments. What should I do?

Pay as much as you can, and try to make up the support payments you missed. Keep making payments, even if you cannot pay the full amount. That shows the court and Support Enforcement Services that you are trying to obey the child support order.

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.” 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.

Can the collection agency take me to court?

No. But if the collection agency does not get money from you, they will send your case to the State. That means a court can punish you for not following the child support order.

How can the court punish me for not following the child support order?

If you disobeyed a court order on purpose, the court will find you in "contempt of court." This means the court will issue an order to make sure that you pay child support in the future.

The court order commonly will:

  • Set up a payment plan, and
  • Send you to jail until you pay a certain amount of child support.

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

The court will find you in contempt if:

  • You were served a notice about the court hearing, and
  • The court decided that you could afford to pay child support, but you decided not to pay.

What if I don't know if I was ordered to pay child support?

Ask at the nearest Superior Court or go to the State's Judicial Department website (www.jud.ct.gov) and choose "Case Look-Up." If the case is already over, talk to a lawyer right away. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call Statewide Legal Services.

This information is based on laws in Connecticut as of April 2012. It is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation. Please call Statewide Legal Services or contact an attorney for additional help. Produced by Legal Assistance Resource Center of CT.

For more information, contact:

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

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.