Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Child Support Services

Connecticut Support Enforcement Services (SES) - sometimes called the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement - is the state agency that makes policy and oversees the child support services for the state. They establish and enforce child support orders made by the courts. The SES office is where you can get help to

  • open a new child support case,
  • establish who the parents of a child are,
  • find parents so they can pay child support,
  • request medical support orders from the court,
  • enforce child support orders, and
  • modify child support orders.

The SES office CANNOT help you with

  • divorce,
  • custody,
  • visitation,
  • restraining orders,
  • establishing support orders for a partner or spouse, or 
  • enforcing support orders that are not included with child support.

Either parent who needs help with paternity or establishing and/or enforcing a child support order can ask SES for help. They can help people whether or not they receive public assistance. Learn more about the Department of Child Support Services and find your local child support agency.

Parents have the right to get advice from a private lawyer or legal aid group at any time.

Connecticut’s Courts

There is a lot of useful information on the Connecticut Judicial Branch website.

  • There is a link to the Law Libraries, where you can search for information, ask questions, and find out about free divorce clinics and other help.
  • Most courts have a Court Service Center where you can get legal forms and help filling them out, use a copier or fax, or get information about the court.

Volunteer Attorney Program

There are free clinics in Hartford, Waterbury, and Stamford. If you are not represented by an attorney and need legal help, you can go to a clinic and talk to a volunteer attorney for information about divorce, custody, child support, motions for contempt, paternity, and grandparents’ rights.

Volunteer attorneys at the clinics are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are not accepted.

  • There are no income qualifications.
  • You can get help before, during, or after a lawsuit.
  • You can get help at any one of the three courthouse locations in Connecticut (see schedule).

Family Services in the Family Civil Court

Family Services professionals can help you make important decisions about your children and parenting when you are going through a separation or divorce and cannot work things out yourselves. A Family Relations Counselor can help you with

  • making agreements with the other parent about child custody and visitation,
  • putting agreements into writing that will go to the court, and
  • information about the required Parenting Education Program.

In-Person Help

You can visit any of the Court Service Centers or Law Libraries for help with your questions in person. 

Legal Aid in Connecticut

CTLawHelp.org is a website that provides free legal information to people with low income who have legal problems in Connecticut. 

  • Find information about family problems and divorce.
  • Use the Legal Help Finder to see if you should apply for legal aid. If you qualify, you can apply online or call Statewide Legal Services and they will give you advice on the phone. Sometimes they may refer you to other organizations for help.