On January 27, 2015 the Legislative Regulation Review Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly meets to consider the child support recommendations submitted by the Commission on Child Support Guidelines. We call on the Committee to reject the Commission’s recommendations. Show your support! Attend the session on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, at 10:00 AM in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT.
Connecticut needs family-friendly child support guidelines. Connecticut’s Commission ignored Connecticut’s 2005 law defining the Best Interests of the Child, which says that Best Interests include strong and continuing connections with both parents.
In a 2014 letter to Connecticut’s Commission on Child Support Guidelines, Department of Social Services Commissioner Rodrick L. Bremby writes: “emotional, social and educational support as well as financial support is imperative to the growth of a well-rounded child.” He further states that the Guideline percentages of income for low income obligors are unrealistic and “counterproductive to fostering the parent-child relationship as it may lead to uncollectable child support orders and drive noncustodial parents to underground economies and alienation from their children.”
Call to action
We call on the Committee to reject the Commission’s recommendations because the recommendations:
- Price poor obligors out of the family equation. The Commission rejected proposals to lower percentages for low income obligors, cherry-picking data prepared by their own expert to arrive at this conclusion.
- Increase Guideline percentages for middle and high-income obligors. This is contrary to evidence indicating that the actual, marginal costs of raising children is significantly below, not above, Guideline amounts.
- Put those paying alimony at a significant financial disadvantage. The Guidelines would in future ignore income from alimony when calculating child support.
- Ignore the fact that the totality of court-ordered payments necessary to hire court-ordered professionals (e.g., GALs, AMCs, therapists), plus court-ordered child support, is putting individuals, many of whom are women, into a situation where it is impossible for them to meet the court-ordered obligations.
- Fail to adequately consider substantial data collected in Massachusetts on this subject, data that resulted in the adoption of Guidelines with the rebuttable presumption of shared parenting in that state in the summer of 2013.
Connecticut’s Commission is proposing family-unfriendly Guidelines, perpetuating a winner-takes-all system that is in no child’s interest. Massachusetts recognizes the interconnection between child support, parenting time, and financial responsibility and, as such, actively encourages shared parental responsibility, both emotional and financial. Other states have adopted a similar model, or are close to. Connecticut’s Commission has not considered the substance of the reasoning leading to the changes in Massachusetts but certainly must do the same.