Connecticut Reviewing Child Support Guidelines
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director,
Fathers and Families
Connecticut is currently reviewing its child support guidelines as mandated by federal law. The Commission for Child Support Guidelines’ meetings are open to the public. Its next meetings are scheduled for: February 26, March 12, and April 2 between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 pm at the Judicial Branch Learning Center at 99 East River Drive, Room 707 in East Hartford, Connecticut.
In 2012, the state Commission for Child Support Guidelines conducted a survey to obtain public input on the Child Support and Arrearage Guidelines. This was the first part of its review process. In the near future, the commission will announce public hearings on proposed regulatory changes, and further public comments will be welcome at that time. Fathers and Families will announce these when we receive the information.
This commission is established under section 46b-215a of the Connecticut General Statutes. The commission is charged with establishing guidelines to ensure the appropriateness of child support awards, and for reviewing and updating such guidelines every four years. The commission consists of eleven members. The Chief Court Administrator, the Commissioner of Social Services, the Attorney General, and the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee on judiciary all serve in their official capacities, and may select designees to serve in their place. The Governor appoints a representative of the Connecticut Bar Association, a representative of legal services, a person who represents the financial concerns of child support obligors, and a representative of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.
These are the members of the Commission:
Chief Court Administrator (Designee)
Lynda B. Munro, Chief Administrative Judge, Family
Attorney General (Designee)
Lucia S. Ziobro, Assistant Attorney General
Judiciary Committee (Co‐Chair)
Keenan McMahon, Attorney (Designee for Senator Andrew McDonald)
Judiciary Committee (Co‐Chair)
Maria C. Barall, Esq. (Designee for Representative Michael Lawlor)
Judiciary Committee (Ranking Member)
David Griffin, Esq. (Designee for Senator John Kissel)
Judiciary Committee (Ranking Member)
Maria McKeon, Esq. (Designee for Representative Arthur J. O’Neill)
Commissioner of Social Services (Designee)
David A. Mulligan, Esq.
Director, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Connecticut Bar Association (Governor’s Appointee)
Rachel Pencu, Esq.
Legal Services (Governor’s Appointee)
Lucy Potter, Esq.
Greater Hartford Legal Aid
Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (Governor’s Appointee)
Natasha M. Pierre, JD, MSW
Child Support Obligor (Governor’s Appointee)
Ernest E. Lagoja
The last commission scheduled six public hearings to receive comments from the public on how the guidelines affected them, and to offer the opportunity to recommend changes. Unfortunately, only 39 individuals commented either by attending one of these hearings or by presenting written comments.
For this review, we are sure our Fathers and Families members will be much more vocal. We will provide you the information as soon as we have it.
Texas Awards Father Sole Custody
By David F. Sims, Member, Fathers and Families
Amidst so many gloomy stories in the news of children being separated from loving parents, I wanted to share with you my personal story of victory to give hope to other fathers. In short, after a seven year battle with their mother, a Texas court awarded me permanent sole custody of my two sons.
I want other fathers to know that sometimes the system does work out. I've subscribed to the Fathers and Families e-newsletter for several years, and the occasional stories of victory have given me hope. I also want to warn fathers about lawyers. A cheap attorney will give you a cheap effort. I went through four different attorneys through this all, and the only one who got me actual results was the expensive one. And it was worth it. Especially since the judge surprisingly ordered my ex to pay the attorney's fees.
I divorced the mother in 2005 after she cheated on me. After I filed for divorce, she levied false allegations of abuse against me. Though I was eventually cleared, the looming shadow of those allegations kept me from gaining custody of our two boys, even though the mother was unemployed. From 2005 through 2010, the mother denied about half of my visitations with the boys and engaged in textbook alienation.
I married a wonderful woman, with two daughters of her own, in 2007. Her daughters are the same ages as my sons. It didn't take long for my ex-wife to allege that my stepdaughters had done something inappropriate to the boys, and she used that as an excuse to continue denying my visitation. I filed multiple motions with the local court to enforce visitation, and those orders were granted but not enforced and she continued to ignore them.
In late 2010, we found out that Child Protective Services was investigating her for violence in her home and her relationship with a registered offender. My attorney contacted CPS; CPS intended to remove the boys from her. They agreed to help me get custody rather than place the boys in foster care. After a CPS investigator testified against her, the judge ruled that she had placed the boys in a dangerous situation. He awarded temporary sole custody to me, giving her no rights or visitation except three phone calls per week. She was not ordered to pay child support, but at least my child support to her was stopped. At this time, she lived in Texas and I lived in Georgia with my wife and stepdaughters.
We had four separate court dates after I gained temporary sole custody, but she got continuances on them for various reasons. Unfortunately for me, I had to make those trips from Georgia to Texas, at my own expense, and did not find out until I arrived that it would be rescheduled. Still, I was happy to have custody of my sons.
Finally, we all appeared before the judge at the end of 2012. My ex had failed to comply with requests for discovery; none of her subpoenaed witnesses even showed up to court. I showed that I had fully complied with the temporary order and that the boys were happy and healthy living with me. In the end, the judge awarded me sole custody, ordered her to pay child support AND my attorney's fees, and gave her limited supervised visitation where I live.
My sons are ages 11 and 13 and they are happy that we finally have a permanent resolution. They prefer to be with me, and I will continue enabling them to have a relationship with their mother in accordance with the court order.
In the News
‘Primary Parent’ a Myth; Shared Parenting Best for Kids
Slate’s XX Blog – Still Campaigning Against Fathers and Children
Domestic Violence System Failed to Protect Child From Mother
Alternet, Salon.com Promote Divorce, Forget Dads and Kids
‘Child Abuser’ Label Keeps Men from Teaching, Childcare Occupations
Fathers and Families Now Ready for Gifts of Securities
Members have contacted Fathers and Families asking how to make gifts directly from their brokerage accounts. If you wish to make your end of the year gift with securities, you may use this form to transfer securities directly to Fathers and Families brokerage account, or you may contact Rita for assistance at 617.542.9300 ext. 3, or email.
Fathers and Families is a Shared Parenting Organization
Fathers and Families is a non-profit organization that is educating the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents and extended families. If you would like to get involved in our organization, you can do so several ways. First, we would love to have you as an official member of the Fathers and Families team. Second, Fathers and Families is an organization that believes in the importance of using social media as a means to spread the word about shared parenting and other topics, and you can visit us on our Facebook Page to learn more about our efforts. Last, we hope you will share this newsletter with other families using the many social networking sites so that we can bring about greater awareness of shared parenting. Thank you for your support.
Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
- Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:
- Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:
- Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:
- Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:
- The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and
- Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.
Fathers and Families
PO Box 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760