Establishing paternity gives a child a legal father. It also gives the father both rights and responsibilities related to helping take care of his child. By knowing both parents, a child gains a sense of identity and belonging. Making the relationship legal from the beginning provides a greater opportunity for a healthy relationship and insures the father's rights to a relationship with his child. Legal fathers have all of the same parental rights and responsibilities as the mother, including the right to seek custody or visitation
What is a Child Support Order?
A child support order is a legal obligation to provide financial and/or medical support for a child. An order sets the amount and type of support payments parents are required to provide for their child(ren.) Child support obligations are determined using Connecticut’s Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines.
CT DSS can assist in establishing orders by going through the Superior Court, or at a local DSS office where parties may sign an Agreement to Support (ATS.) ATS signings are subject to approval of a Family Support Magistrate of the Superior Court to ensure child support and arrearage guidelines are followed.
How is a Child Support Order Enforced?
Whenever a court order is established, it is generally required that an income withholding be issued against the employer of the parent who is paying. This is the best enforcement method for collection of child support. The State of Connecticut also has other enforcement and collection tools to make sure child support gets paid.
These include, but are not limited to:
• Withholding of Unemployment Compensation benefits
• Withholding retirement/pension payments
• Intercepting of federal and state income tax refunds
• Intercepting of lottery winnings
• Seizure of assets from a financial institution
• Denying or not renewing passport applications/reapplications
• Seizure of civil awards and settlements
• Suspension of licenses, to include driver’s, professional, and recreational
• Reporting of individuals to credit bureaus
A case may require court action in some instances to enforce a child support order. This is handled by the Support Enforcement Services (SES) units of the Superior Court.