Child Support Attorney in New York City, New York
The financial obligation for their children which parents share under New York law is not unlike the obligation in other states. Both parents are responsible for providing financial support for their minor children. However, New York law differs from those in most other states because here, a parent’s financial obligation, with few exceptions, does not end until a child reaches the age of 21.
There are two basic questions about child support when parents no longer live together with their children as a family: Who pays child support, and how much?
Even in the most amicable separations, child support can be a contentious issue. Moreover, because it’s linked to child custody, child support can be quite emotional.
If you need to establish child support due to divorce, separation, or determination of paternity, or if you want to learn more about modifying an existing child support arrangement in New York City or throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx, I can help. At the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C., I am dedicated to helping New York families navigate some of the most difficult times in their lives. I can assist you in protecting what matters most to you.
How Does Child Support Work in New York?
In simple terms, child support is the money one parent pays the other to provide financial support for the child. There is a presumption that the parent with primary physical custody of the child—the parent the child resides with except during visitations—spends money on that child routinely. That means the non-custodial parent usually pays child support to the custodial parent.
Because both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support, the court begins with each parent’s gross income, then deducts from each certain expenses, such as spousal support and child support obligations for children other than the ones they share. Amounts paid for income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes are also considered. A formula is then used to calculate the basic child support obligation. Keep in mind that the court can deviate from it under certain circumstances, for example, if a child has special medical needs.
Income can include what a parent receives for unemployment, disability, pensions, retirement benefits, annuities, stipends, Social Security, Workers’ Compensation benefits, and veteran’s benefits.
Once each parent’s net income is determined, they are added together to calculate their combined income. That sum is multiplied by a percentage based on the number of children requiring support. That calculation determines the total amount of child support required. Then, that amount is divided between the parents, based on each one’s percentage of the combined income. Reach out to a family law attorney to learn more about these formulas.
If a parent becomes voluntarily unemployed or underemployed to avoid paying the child support they should, the court will impute that parent’s income. In other words, the court will place that parent’s income at what they should be earning, not necessarily what they actually are earning.
If you and the other parent create your own child support agreement and sign a waiver acknowledging notification of your rights and responsibilities, the court may approve the agreement rather than use the formula. Your child support lawyer may be able to help you negotiate such an agreement if you believe you and the other parent can work one out.
Can an Existing Child Support Arrangement Be Modified?
Either parent can petition the court that entered the child support order to modify the arrangement if they experience a significant or “material” change in circumstances. Such changes might include loss of employment, serious decline in health status, or even a remarriage resulting in additional children that parent is obliged to support.
It is important to note that a child support arrangement is a court order and as such, only the court can modify an existing order.
When Does a Child Support Obligation End?
Termination of child support ends when the child reaches the age of 21 in New York. The exception to this age is emancipation. Children under the age of 21 who are in the military, marry, or become self-supporting are considered to be emancipated and parents are no longer obligated to provide child support for them.
Again, because child support is a court order, the non-custodial parent paying support must petition the court to order the termination of child support when the child reaches age 21 or becomes emancipated.
Child Support Attorney
Serving New York City, New York
As a New York City family law attorney, I have worked with parents in a broad range of situations relevant to child support. The depth and breadth of my experience, along with my legal skill, allows me to help my clients move forward. If you need to discuss creating a child support arrangement or modifying an existing one, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Seth D. Schraier, P.C. now.