Irrespective of their marital or relationship status, all parents have a financial responsibility to their child. When parents can’t agree on what each person’s child support responsibilities ought to be, one parent will usually pursue judicial intervention to establish child support in CT.
Child support proceedings can take months or even years to settle, leaving the question of how the child will be provided for in the meanwhile. In such instances, a parent can ask the court to grant a provisional child support order, also called a pendente lite child support order, which would specify each parent’s responsibilities for the child’s monetary support for the duration of time until a permanent support order can be put into place.
Here’s what to know about pendente lite child support and how qualified Connecticut divorce lawyer Heidi Opinsky can assist you.
Definition of Pendente Lite Child Support In CT
The Latin phrase “pendente lite” translates to “pending litigation” in English, which in the context of Connecticut family law means the period just prior to the divorce hearing. Pendente lite child support permits the court to offer temporary financial relief to the child’s current primary custodian while the case is being deliberated.
In Connecticut, a pendente lite child support order is generally given at the start of a divorce and is frequently used to maintain as stable an environment as possible for the child. These interim orders are easier to modify than finalized child support orders. After a permanent child support order is issued, you must provide significant evidence that proves a material change in circumstances.
How Connecticut Superior Courts Determine Temporary Child Support
The method of determining interim support obligations is relatively simple. Most, if not all, states in the U.S. have established rules that outline the criteria that must be used by the court for determining provisional support responsibilities. The earnings and resources of each parent are taken into account, as well as the number of minor children for whom assistance is required, their ages, and the expected costs of providing for each child.
The custody arrangements for each child is typically taken into account. Most judges adhere to the CT child support formula to determine how much the non-custodial parent should pay, however, in some cases a judge may be allowed to deviate from state guidelines for the purpose of maintaining the child’s best interests.
Make sure your interim support order contains wording stating that it is only provisional in order to protect your right to request at any time that the order be modified or a new agreement created, even if no material change in circumstances has transpired.
Factors That Influence Child Support Decisions
When one of the child’s parents requests pendente lite child support in CT, both parents must provide proof of income, a list of their assets including bank accounts and property, a list of debts they owe, and proof of regular expenses for housing, food, healthcare, childcare, etc.
A Superior Court judge will review the available information and make a decision whether or not to order temporary child support and if so, to whom and for how much. The judge may or may not elect to have a hearing.
Other monetary responsibilities will also be defined in the order, such as which parent will provide the child’s health insurance, who foots the bill for extracurricular activities, and how long the temporary order will remain in effect.
Enforcing Temporary vs. Permanent Child Support In CT
The goal of a temporary child support order is to guarantee that the needs of any children who benefit from it are fulfilled while the parents’ final child support obligations are being addressed. Temporary child support orders are subject to enforcement actions in the same way a final child support order is.
This guarantees that any child of a relationship or marriage is properly cared for by both parents. As a result, if either parent fails to comply with a pendente lite child support order, he or she may be held in contempt of court and incur fines, wage garnishment, and potentially even jail time.
How Connecticut Child Support Lawyer Heidi Opinsky Can Help
Although pendente lite child support in CT can be modified more easily than permanent support, it’s still very important to your overall case. Often, Superior Court judges will decide that it’s in the best interests of the child for support to remain the same. The temporary orders are then formally made permanent, although the orders themselves stay the same.
Heidi Opinsky is an experienced Connecticut child support lawyer that can help you advocate for the best possible outcome for your family. Call now for a consultation to discuss calculating child support, child support enforcement, and more by dialing 203-653-3542.