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In New York State, child support is calculated pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act, which is a formula that takes into consideration certain factors regarding each parents income, timeshare and responsibility for the children(ren). The State holds each parent to the equal responsibility of supporting their children based on each parents financial abilities and station in life. The goal of the court is to ensure that the children’s needs are met in both parents home.
Accurately calculating child support is accomplished by ensuring that all relevant income information is considered pursuant to the Child Support Standards Chart http://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/pdfs/CSSA.pdf.
What is child support?
Child support are payments made usually by a non-custodial parent, to the other parent for the benefits of the children’s needs. It is public policy to ensure that the parents provide for the needs of their children, so that the children’s needs are not required to be met by public assistance. In addition to financial support for the children’s basic needs, the court may also make “add-on” child support orders so that the non-custodial parent also contributes to other needs, such as extra-curricular activities or special educational needs.
How can a lawyer help me establish child support?
One of the single most important elements of a divorce or family law proceeding is the determination of child support. Many factors are considered when accurately calculating support, and it is imperative that you speak with an experienced child support lawyer to ensure that support is accurately calculated in your case. It can be extremely costly and time consuming to modify a child support order once a judge has made their ruling therefore it is extremely important to get it right the first time.
Do I still have to pay child support even if I do not visit my children?
Yes. In fact, you will pay more child support because you do not visit your children. Think of it this way, the more time you spend with your children the less you will pay in child support. However, you cannot discharge your responsibility to pay child support simply because you do not visit the children, and under most situations it is nearly impossible to discharge a child support obligation. Even in situations where parents waive or give up their parental rights they may still be subject to pay child support until the child is an adult.
Do I still have to pay child support if the other parent has remarried?
Yes. In fact, under most situations the other parent’s new-spouse’s income has no bearing on the outcome or amount of child support that a non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay.
Do I still have to pay child support even if the other parent earns more than me?
It depends on the amount of time that you spend with your children, but in some situations you may still be ordered to pay child support even if the other parent earns more income than you. However, the law states that child support shall be set based on a fixed percentage based on the number of children involved. The percentages are as follows:
1 child (17% of the non-custodial parent’s income)
2 children (25% of the non-custodial parent’s income)
3 children (29% of the non-custodial parent’s income)
4 children (31% of the non-custodial parent’s income)
5 or more (at least 35% of the non-custodial parent’s income)
What if the other parent is unemployed?
It is the duty of the court and public policy to ensure that parents, and not the State or Federal government, support their children. Likewise, if a parent is unemployed and contributing to the support and needs of their children, the court has the authority to order the unemployed parent to actively seek employment and show evidence that they are doing so.
What if the other parent is divesting themselves of income?
If it can be shown that the unemployed parent is voluntarily unemployed, the court than has the authority to impute income to that parent.
What can I do if I suspect the other parent is not accurately disclosing their income?
If you suspect that the other parent is hiding or inaccurately, or failing to disclose their actual income, you should be with an attorney right away. An experienced child support attorney is skilled at discovering undisclosed income, and can ensure that your child support order is based on accurate information.
Can I modify a child support order?
Yes. Child support orders are modifiable based on a change in circumstances, which may consist of an increase or decrease in pay, loss of employment, increase or decrease in custodial time, or other factors for which the court may consider making a change to the child support amount. An experienced child support lawyer can help you submit a strong and compelling basis for your modification, and can assist you in calculating the proper amount based on your change in circumstances.
If you have a child support case in the Brooklyn area, you should consult with an experienced child support lawyer before any orders are made, to ensure that your child support order is accurately calculated.