How Do Courts Typically Decide Custody?

If there is a dispute regarding custody, a “Guardian ad litem” will usually be appointed to represent the minor children, although if the child was 13 or older, an attorney would be appointed for the minor child, and that attorney and the guardian for younger children would recommend to the court what is in the best interests of the children. If the child had an attorney, that attorney would act just like the attorneys for the parents, and act as a mouthpiece of the minor child, telling the court what the child would like. The only place in Connecticut where contested custody cases can be heard is Middletown.

In the usual child custody situation, the mother will have physical custody and primary residence, whereas both parties would have joint legal custody, meaning that all decisions will be made jointly, with both parents having access to the medical and educational records of the children. The noncustodial parent will usually have the children every other Friday night to Sunday and every two weeknights for dinner; that’s the average, although there is no visitation schedule set in stone. Whatever the parties agreed to based on their work schedules would be fine; the court won’t get involved if the parties reach an agreement.

Any custody battle can be avoided if both parties put their kids ahead of themselves, and they’re not being selfish or trying to get back at the other spouse through the children.

What Are Some Factors That Go Into Child Support?

Basically, it is just black and white; the judge looks at the net income of each party, adds them together, and then they look at the child support guidelines and tell the parties how much has to be provided for child support based upon the number of children. That amount is then divided up, with each party paying an amount based on the net income each one was making. There is also a formula that would determine the percentage of work-related daycare in addition to the child support and it would also calculate unreimbursed medical expenses for the children.

The amount of child support will usually have nothing to do with custody or visitation unless there were extraordinary visitation expenses because somebody lived out of state; in that case they might get a reduction in the child support based on their traveling expenses. Other than that, it would not matter. Child support, custody and alimony are always modifiable based upon any substantial change of circumstances.

What Happens If a Spouse Fails To Pay Child Support?

If a parent fails to pay child support, a contempt motion can be filed against them, and they could be incarcerated if the contempt was willful. If it was discovered that the spouse had no ability to pay, then they would have to file a motion to modify their child support. Unless the person was self-employed, all child support done by wage garnishment, so it would come directly from the employer unless the parties had agreed otherwise.

Does Child Support Trump Alimony If There Is Not Enough Money To Provide For Both?

Payment of child support is enforced by federal law, whereas alimony is basically decided using the rule of thumb for half the length of the marriage. It basically covers the shortage, if any, after taking the custodial spouse’s net income and child support. Any shortfall in terms of expenses to keep the household going would usually be covered by alimony.

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