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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 15 : Domestic Relations

Chapter 011 : ANNULMENT AND DIVORCE

Subchapter 003A : Child Custody and Support

(Cite as: 15 V.S.A. § 658)
  • § 658. Support

    (a) In an action under this chapter or under chapter 21 of this title, the court shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay an amount for the support of the child in accordance with the support guidelines as set forth in this subchapter, unless otherwise determined under section 659 of this title.

    (b) A request for support may be made by either parent, a guardian, or the Department for Children and Families or the Department of Vermont Health Access, if a party in interest. A court may also raise the issue of support on its own motion.

    (c) The court may order support to be continued until the child attains the age of majority or terminates secondary education, whichever is later.

    (d) The court or magistrate may order an obligor or a parent who will become the obligor pending an anticipated child support order to participate in employment, educational, or training-related activities if the court finds that participation in such activities would assist in providing support for a child, or in addressing the causes of the default. The court may also order the parent to participate in substance abuse or other counseling if the court finds that such counseling may assist the parent to achieve stable employment. Activities ordered under this section shall be consistent with, and may be more rigorous than, any requirements of a state or federal program in which the parent is participating. For the purpose of this subsection, "employment, educational, or training-related activities" shall mean:

    (1) Unsubsidized employment.

    (2) Subsidized private sector employment.

    (3) Subsidized public sector employment.

    (4) Work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available.

    (5) On-the-job training.

    (6) Job search and job readiness assistance.

    (7) Community service programs.

    (8) Vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual).

    (9) Job skills training directly related to employment.

    (10) Education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency.

    (11) Satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate.

    (12) The provision of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program.

    (13) An employment services program, which may provide referrals for employment, training, counseling, or other services. Any report provided from such a program shall be presumed to be admissible without the appearance of a witness from the program in accordance with the provisions in 4 V.S.A. § 466(f).

    (e) A consent to the adoption of a child or the relinquishment of a child, for the purpose of adoption, covered by a child support order shall terminate an obligor's duty to provide future support for the adopted child without further order of the court. Unpaid support installments accrued prior to adoption are not discharged and are subject to the jurisdiction of the court. In a case involving a child covered by a Vermont child support order, the Probate Division of the Superior Court shall also file the consent or relinquishment with the Family Division of the Superior Court in the case in which the support order was issued and shall notify the Office of Child Support of any order terminating parental rights and of the final adoption decree. Upon receipt of the consent or relinquishment, the Office of Child Support shall terminate the obligor's duty to provide further support.

    [Subsection (f)  shall apply to child support cases filed before July 1, 2010.]

    (f)(1) The court shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to provide a cash contribution or medical coverage for a child, provided that medical coverage is available to the parent at a reasonable cost. Medical coverage is presumed to be available to a parent at a reasonable cost only if the amount payable for the individual's contribution to the insurance or health benefit plan premium is five percent or less of the parent's gross income. the court, in its discretion, retains the right to order a parent to obtain medical coverage even if the cost exceeds five percent of the parent's gross income if the cost is deemed reasonable under all the circumstances after considering the factors pursuant to section 659 of this title.

    (2) If private health insurance or an employer-sponsored health benefit plan is not available at a reasonable cost, the court may order one or both parents owing a duty of support to contribute a cash contribution of up to five percent of gross income toward the cost of health care coverage of a child under public or private health insurance or a health benefit plan. A cash contribution under this section shall be considered child support for tax purposes. When calculating the contribution of a parent whose child receives coverage under Medicaid, a Medicaid waiver program, or Dr. Dynasaur, the court shall not order a contribution greater than the premium amount charged by the Agency of Human Services for the child's coverage.

    [Subsection (f) as amended by 2009, Act No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), §   E.319.1 shall apply to child support cases filed on or after July 1, 2010.]

    (f)(1) The court shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to provide a cash contribution or medical coverage for a child, provided that medical coverage is available to the parent at a reasonable cost. Medical coverage is presumed to be available to a parent at a reasonable cost only if the cost of adding the child to an existing insurance or health benefit plan or the difference between providing coverage to the individual alone and family coverage under an existing insurance or health benefit plan is five percent or less of the parent's gross income.

    (2) If private health insurance or an employer-sponsored health benefit plan is not available at a reasonable cost, the court may order one or both parents owing a duty of support to contribute a cash contribution of up to five percent of gross income. the court also may order a cash contribution if a child receives coverage or health benefits under Medicaid, a Medicaid waiver program, Dr. Dynasaur, or is uninsured. A cash contribution under this section shall be considered child support for tax purposes.

    (3) The court, in its discretion, may order a parent to provide a cash contribution or coverage under a public or private insurance or health benefit plan even if the cost exceeds five percent of the parent's gross income, if the cost is deemed reasonable under the totality of the circumstances after considering the factors pursuant to section 659 of this title.

    (g) [Repealed.]  (Added 1985, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 1, 1987; amended 1989, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 1993, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1995, No. 59, § 5; 1995, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 63, § 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; 2003, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 131; 2007, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2012; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 126, 126a; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), §§ E.319.1, I.18; 2011, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)