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When it comes to child support, New York courts work to ensure their rulings are fair, consistent, and beneficial to both parties. However, in most situations, many times these cases are very complex and have the emotions of everyone running very high. Often involved with custody agreements, child support enforcement is taken very seriously in New York. Yet since each case is unique, it’s important for those seeking child support as well as those who will be responsible for making payments to work with skilled attorneys who have handled numerous cases in this area. By doing so, they will gain a greater understanding of child support laws and how they will apply to their situation.
What is Child Support?
The legal definition of child support is financial payments made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent in an effort to help support their children. However, before determining the amount that will be paid, the court is required to establish paternity. Once established, the payment amount is set and the non-custodial parent is ordered to begin making monthly payments. Used to help pay for food, clothing, medical expenses, daycare, and other regular expenses, the courts attempt to make the payments as reasonable as possible. However, it’s not uncommon for the non-custodial parent to believe the payments ordered by the court are excessive. In these situations, it’s best to have a lawyer who understands how to negotiate terms that will be more in your favor.
How is Child Support Determined?
There are a variety of methods used by the court to determine child support. These can include not only the income of each parent, but also other financial assets and sources of income including Social Security income, lottery winnings, retirement benefits, and other sources. However, it is important to note that even if one parent is deemed capable of supporting the children, the court can still order child support payments be made each month. Along with this, New York courts can order that if both parents are still living with the children, a child support order can be granted to one parent if the other refuses to help pay the children’s bills. Additional information about this and related matters can be found at www.nycourts.com/courthelp/Family/childSupport.shtml.
Can Child Support Orders be Changed?
In most child support cases, payments are expected to continue until the children are 18 years of age. But in certain circumstances, those payments can be extended until the children reach age 21, especially if they have physical, mental, or other disabilities. Due to this flexibility the court possesses in these cases, it’s quite common for one parent to request that the child support orders be modified. Not only can the parent making the payments request a modification, but also the parent receiving the payments. If a change to the order is requested, it’s usually due to one parent thinking they are paying too much or the custodial parent believing they are not receiving enough money to adequately provide for the children. No matter which parent asks for the change, having a lawyer who has had success in getting support orders changed is of prime importance, since it can not only change the amount of money being paid, but also greatly impact the welfare of the children.
Why Do I Need a Child Support Lawyer?
Along with helping to get a child support order changed, there are many other reasons why a child support lawyer is needed. For starters, they will understand the complexities of these cases, and know the types of paperwork that must be completed and filed with the court. Along with this, they will act as a buffer between you and your ex-spouse, who may be very unwilling to engage in a constructive discussion. If this happens, your lawyer can serve notice to the other party, ensuring they will have to be an active participant in the hearing. And finally, your attorney can help you stay calm and cool before, during, and after the proceedings, ensuring you don’t do or say anything that could create additional legal problems for you and perhaps your children.
Enforcing the Child Support Order
While the court can examine the facts and issue a child support order, enforcing it is often an issue unto itself. If the non-custodial parent feels they got cheated by the court and are ordered to pay an amount they deem to be unfair, they sometimes simply don’t make the payments. If this happens, the non-custodial parent can petition the court to change the order. However, it’s better to initially go along with the order, then work with your lawyer to make changes to your child support order. By showing you are willing to cooperate with the court’s rulings, you will have a much better chance of getting the terms of your enforcement order changed.
Work With Your Lawyer
If you find yourself involved in child support hearings, it’s always best to cooperate with your lawyer every step of the way. By doing so, you’ll not only demonstrate a sense of cooperation to the court, but also show that you are willing to put the best interests of your children ahead of everything. By hiring an attorney who understands your situation, you’ll be able to work with them to ensure you not only win your case, but do so in a manner that’s fair to your ex-spouse and children.