“Shared physical custody” and child support in Connecticut

By Edward Jurkiewicz
In May 1, 2016
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I’m sometimes asked whether “shared physical custody” translates to a reduced child support obligation (or no child support obligation). The answer in any individual case is informed by recent amendments to the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines were amended in 2015; the previous amendment was 10 years earlier, in 2005.

The 2005 Guidelines defined “shared physical custody” as “a situation in which each parent exercises physical care and control of the child for periods substantially in excess of a normal visitation schedule. An equal sharing of physical care and control of the child is not required for a finding of shared physical custody.” This was a very fact-specific test. Under this definition it was conceivable that, for example, a 30/70 split of parenting time could be considered shared custody, depending on the specific circumstances.

The 2015 Guidelines amended the definition of shared physical custody to provide that “the physical residence of the child is shared when the child has substantially equal time and contact with each parent.” So, “shared physical custody” is now a term which is reserved for approximate 50/50 situations.

With respect to child support, the new Guidelines indicate that “the presumptive support amount is the amount that the parent with the higher income would pay to the other parent. Shared physical custody can be grounds for deviating, as under prior guidelines.”

Without additional findings, then, a 50/50 split of parenting time does not reduce the child support at all.

However, the Guidelines allow for a deviation (either by agreement, or by court order after a contested hearing): i-) if the shared custody arrangement substantially reduces child-related expenses for the parent with the lower net weekly income; ii-) if the shared custody arrangement substantially increases child-related expenses for the parent with the higher net weekly income; or iii-) if both parents have substantially equal income.

So the answer to the question posed above is highly case-specific. If you would like to schedule a consultation on this or any related subject, please call me at (860) 299-6263.

Hartford area bankruptcy attorney and divorce lawyer Edward P. Jurkiewicz has over 20 years of experience representing clients. Our firm represents debtors and creditors and handles both relatively simple divorces and bankruptcies and more complex litigation matters. With this depth of experience, our firm is able to anticipate and prepare for any potential issues that could arise in your bankruptcy, divorce or family matter.

CONTACT US TODAY AT 860-299-6263