Suffolk County Child Support Lawyer Assisting Clients With Child Support Matters in New York
As in many states across the nation, parents with children in the state of New York are expected to comply with their duty of raising the child in a safe, nurturing environment while providing for the child’s basic necessities. However, in the case of a divorce, it is inevitable that one parent will end up with more child-related expenses than the other, making the need for child support essential for the child’s best interests. Learn how child support works in New York and what to do if you are facing a child support-related issue.
How Does Child Support Work in New York?
Child support is money paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent of a child during and after a divorce or legal separation. The custodial parent is the one who has physical custody of the child, meaning the child lives with that parent the majority of the time.
Child support payments are meant to provide the custodial parent with the financial means required to cover the child’s basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and the like. Even though the payments are made to the custodial parent, the money is to be used to benefit the child. A custodial parent may seek child support payments even if that parent could afford to support the child on their own. The court may also order the noncustodial parent to provide health insurance to the child as a part of a child support order.
Once a child support order is finalized by the court, it cannot be stopped or modified without court authorization and should continue until the child becomes of legal age or becomes emancipated before turning 21 by getting married, joining the military, or becoming self-supporting and not requiring parental funds to cover their basic needs.
How Are Child Support Payments Calculated?
When it comes to determining how much each child support payment should be and how often the noncustodial parent should be making those payments, the parents may come to an agreement on their own and submit it to the court for approval. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court may use a mathematical formula to calculate child support payments.
The formula takes into consideration a few different factors, such as the number of children being supported and the net income of both parents. Then, the court may determine that a percentage of the combined parental income be set aside for child support. That percentage varies according to the number of children being supported – from 17% of the combined parental income for one child to at least 35% for five or more children.
In certain cases where parents have a high income, the court may decide to apply the formula to any portion of the parent’s income that exceeds the threshold of $163,000 (current as of March 2022). Alternatively, the court may decide to apply a different percentage and provide the reasons for doing so, whichever option benefits the child the most.
What Happens if I Can No Longer Afford to Pay Child Support?
Sometimes, the noncustodial parent may face life events or circumstances that may cause them to fall behind on child support payments or have trouble affording the amount due for each payment. It goes without saying that falling behind on child support payments or stopping them altogether without previous authorization from the court can result in a major headache for the payor and even lead to judicial enforcement actions – including referral for criminal prosecution in some cases.
If you are a noncustodial parent struggling to make ends meet while paying child support, it is best to take action before falling behind on payments and ask the court to modify the amount of each payment by filing a child support modification request. A child support attorney can help you with this process, and if you can effectively demonstrate to the court that you can no longer afford the original child support payments, the court may agree to your modification request.
In addition, it is never a good idea to try and make changes to your child support payment amount and frequency without submitting a modification request – even if the other parent is in agreement. Sometimes, the custodial parent may refuse to comply with the court-ordered parenting schedule, and the noncustodial parent responds by withholding child support payments. While the custodial parent could be said to be in contempt of court, the court will likely not look at the noncustodial parent’s decision with a kind eye.
When Should I See a Child Support Attorney?
A child support attorney can help you with the process of seeking a child support order in court, walking you through the process of requesting a modification, and helping you ask the court to enforce a child support order when the noncustodial parent is failing to comply or has fallen behind.
Child support can often be a difficult issue, bringing up a lot of emotions as it is often linked to other aspects of a divorce, such as parenting time and custody matters. A child support attorney can provide knowledgeable guidance and advice to help you make the right decisions with a clear mind. At the Law Office of Gina M. Pellettieri, Attorney Gina M. Pellettieri and her legal team have helped countless clients in the Suffolk county area to resolve their child support matters in a favorable manner. If you need help with a child support problem or have questions, simply contact the Law Office of Gina M. Pelletier by calling (631) 320-1493.