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Stamford Family Law Blog

Child support modification in Connecticut

Noncustodial parents are required to pay child support to ensure that their children are properly cared for and to prevent them from becoming a burden on the state. Child support is calculated in Connecticut using a formula that takes the incomes of both parents into account, but there are situations where the amount that noncustodial parents are required to pay each month may be modified.

Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that only about 45% of the 5.8 million custodial parents in the United States who are due child support receive the full amount each month. Media stories often portray noncustodial parents who do not meet their child support responsibilities as deadbeats, but many of them simply do not have the money to pay and do not know that they can petition the court for relief. Custodial parents can also seek to have child support awards modified when the financial situations of noncustodial parents improve.

Winning child custody

Most parents living in Connecticut sincerely want what is best for their children. This is true even when a marriage comes to an end. A primary concern of most divorcing parents is what will happen to their children.

In many cases, parents can work out child custody and support issues between themselves. However, there are situations in which even loving, responsible parents cannot come to an agreement. In these cases, it may be necessary for a family court judge to intervene. In such cases, parents are usually advised to come to court prepared with evidence that supports their relationship with their child or children.

Common contributing factors that lead couples to divorce

Recent reports suggest a drop in the divorce rate, but data suggests it is due more to fewer couples tying the knot. Divorce is still high among first and second marriages alike.

While there are many reasons why a once happily married couple splits, there are some common issues that creep up over time. Consider some of these contributing factors that lead many couples through the doors of divorce court.

Keeping finances in order during a divorce

Divorce can be a financial strain for many people, but individuals in Connecticut can prepare by understanding their financial situation and making a plan. The first step is to make a monthly budget. This will probably be short term as a person gets a handle on expenses. It may need to account for items such as getting insurance and a new place in which to live. This budget can carry an individual through the next few months before making a longer-term one.

The budget should include an estimate of divorce costs. Researching Connecticut divorce laws can help prepare a person for what to expect. Dividing property fairly will also be important for financial security. The person who decides to keep the home should make sure that doing so is affordable. Some retirement accounts are taxed on distribution, so their dollar amounts may not indicate their true value. If a couple is in debt, they should strive to pay it off before the divorce is finalized. Otherwise, they will need a plan to continue paying after the marriage is dissolved.

Tips for social media use during divorce

Estranged Connecticut should be careful with their use of social media before, during and after a divorce. When people are considering ending their marriage, they should still avoid posting anything negative about their spouse on social media. They might want to consider tightening their privacy settings and removing any potential troublemakers from their friends list. They may also want to review older posts and remove anything that could be damaging.

The most important thing to remember about social media during a divorce is that anything posted there could be used. This means it is not a good place to vent. Instead, people should talk to friends, family or a therapist. Social media contacts do not need to know details of the divorce settlement. A couple going through an amicable divorce may want to coordinate any announcements on social media.

How to protect assets in a second or third marriage

It is becoming more common for individuals in Connecticut and elsewhere to get married more than once. According to Pew Research, roughly 66% of those between the ages of 55 and 64 who have been married in the past will get married again. Among all married couples, 40% have at least one person who is on a second or subsequent marriage. Those who are married for a second or third time may have a variety of financial issues to consider before the wedding takes place.

A lack of planning could result in money or assets intended for a biological child going to the surviving spouse instead. Money or assets could also be transferred to the surviving spouse's children against a person's wishes. Prior to getting married, an individual should create a prenuptial agreement to ensure that property goes where it should in the event of a death or divorce.

Tips to keep in mind when seeking child custody

When Connecticut parents end their marriage, it can be very important for both of them to preserve their relationship with their children. This can be even more imperative when one parent strongly believes that they can provide their kids with a better, more stable home as a primary parent or even if they want to share joint custody. In many cases, both parents can come to an agreement with shared time for both with the children. However, in other cases, families may head to court to sort out their disputes over child custody. There are several steps that people can take to show that they are a good choice for custody of their children.

It is important for parents who are seeking custody to work together, including participating in negotiations and mediation to reach a settlement. People have lost custody cases over their refusal to work with the other parent. In addition, people who want custody should be able to show that they have repeatedly and regularly exercised their rights to time with the children.

Tips for dealing with student loans in divorce

People who are divorcing may wonder how it will affect their student loan debt. If they went into the marriage with the debt, it will probably be considered individual property and the person who took it out will be responsible for it. However, if the student loan debt was acquired after marriage, what happens to it is less straightforward. In Connecticut, an equitable distribution state, a court will look at several factors to decide whether student loan debt is shared property and how it will be divided.

A debt is more likely to be considered the sole responsibility of the student who took it out if the student used it all on tuition and other school-related expenses than if the couple used the loan for living expenses. A court may be less likely to hold a spouse responsible for the debt if the spouse was very supportive while the student was attending school. The earning power of both spouses may also be a factor in determining responsibility, particularly if a lower-earning spouse put a career on hold to support the spouse in school.

What happens to home equity when you divorce?

When you split from your spouse in Connecticut, you will need to sort your way through a number of important matters, from how you will divide valuable assets to how you plan to share custody of your child or children, if applicable. When it comes to dividing your assets, your most valuable shared asset may well be your home, and you will generally have three different options when it comes to dividing up its equity.

Before you can decide which option best suits your needs, though, you will need to determine exactly how much equity you have in the home in the first place. To do so, you will need to determine its value and then subtract the amount you still owe on your mortgage from its current value. Once you both agree on the amount of equity you have of your home, you can move forward with one of three options.

Co-parenting pitfalls in the teen years

Raising teenagers can be tough in any circumstances, but for Connecticut parents who are divorced, there can be extra challenges. If the parents have been navigating tough co-parenting situations for years, this might seem like the time they can relax a little, but this is the wrong move. Teens need a different kind of guidance compared to younger children, but they still need some.

The parents' instincts to be more flexible is not a bad one. It is important to not be rigid about the parenting schedule as teens become more independent and have more friends, activities, and obligations. However, giving teens more space should not mean failing to keep up with their friends or what they are doing. Too often, each divorced parent will assume the other has taken on this role, and because they are no longer talking as much, they do not realize that this is not the case. Teens left largely to their own devices may be irresponsible with their freedom. Parents should still make an effort to get to know their teens' friends and to communicate with one another about their children.

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Law Office of Robert A. Skovgaard
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Stamford, CT 06905

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