Month: February 2017

CHILD SUPPORT PART III: DEVIATING FROM THE GUIDELINES

As discussed in Part I and II of this series, child support in Connecticut is determined by the Child Support Guidelines and numerous statutory factors. In the Connecticut court system there is a presumption that the amount of child support as calculated by the guidelines is the correct amount to be ordered by the court. However, in some cases, either an upward or downward deviation from the guidelines may be necessary or appropriate for certain families, including those who live in the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Westport.

The presumptive amount of support as determined by the guidelines may be rebutted by a specific finding on the record that such amount would be inequitable or inappropriate. Parties may also enter an agreement that rebuts the presumed amount so long as the agreement cites or more deviation criteria as outlined by the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines. In order to deviate from the presumptive amount of support as determined by the guidelines, the presumptive amount of support must first be stated and specific deviation criteria must be cited. Connecticut case law emphasizes that all child support awards, including those resulting from agreements of the parties, must be made in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines.

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DIVORCE AND COLLEGE EDUCATION COSTS

“Who will have to pay for our children’s college expenses?” is one of the most frequent questions posed to divorce lawyers in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Westport. Given that divorce is often a time of great financial uncertainty and anxiety for divorcing spouses, it is certainly understandable that many of our clients are concerned about whether, and to what extent, each parent will be obligated to contribute to their children’s college expenses.

Most clients are aware, even before they meet with a family law attorney, that a primary custodial parent will be entitled to receive child support payments from a non-custodial parent under Connecticut law. However, while such child payments are meant to cover a broad range of child-related expenses (such as food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities), child support obligations do not account for college costs. In fact, child support obligations extend only until a child reaches the age of eighteen (or, in situations where a child does not graduate from high school by age eighteen, until the earlier to occur of a child’s graduation from High School or his or her 19th birthday).

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WHAT DIVORCE PROCESS IS RIGHT FOR ME? PART III – LITIGATION

The previous posts in this series discussed mediation and collaborative divorce and this post will continue with litigation.

LITIGATION

You most likely associate the word “litigation” with nasty court room battles at a great expense. In some instances that is the case, however, “litigation” does not always have to be an expensive battle. In its simplest form, litigation is the process of taking legal action. Whether you choose mediation, collaborative, litigation, or alternative dispute resolution divorce models, you must take legal action against your spouse, which means a Marshal serves your spouse with the Summons, Complaint, and Automatic Orders, and then you file those documents with the Court. The differences between the various models hinge on what course you and your spouse decide to take after the action is filed with the Court. Sometimes you do not have a choice based on your spouse’s actions, and the default model is litigation. Irrespective of the model, you and your spouse must still resolve the same issues including legal custody, physical custody, alimony, child support, housing, division of bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts, and the division of personal property.

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