Have Questions About Child Support? We Can Help.
In New York, parents are responsible for supporting a child until the child turns 21, unless the child is sooner emancipated. A child may become emancipated before age 21 if, for example, he/she joins the military, marries or lives independent from his/her parents and is self-supporting. When couples divorce or legally separate, that obligation to their children continues but there is frequently a dispute over who should pay child support and how much they owe.
If you have found yourself in a dispute over child support, Frost & Kavanaugh is here to help. Our child support attorneys in New York, are committed to helping you navigate negotiations but are always prepared to take a case to trial.
Who Pays Child Support?
When married parents divorce or legally separate, it is most common for a noncustodial parent to pay child support to a custodial parent. The parent with primary physical custody is the custodial parent. The custodial parent can receive child support even if he or she could support the child without the other parent’s contributions.
The non-custodial parent usually pays child support to the custodial parent for the child’s food, clothing, housing and other expenses. A noncustodial parent may also pay for part of the child’s educational or medical expenses, as well as the custodial parent’s child care expenses.
When parents are unmarried and paternity has been established by an Acknowledgement of Paternity or an Order of Filiation, unmarried parents have largely the same responsibilities as parents who were married when the child was born. This means the noncustodial parent will likely need to pay child support to the custodial parent.
How Much Does A Parent Pay For Child Support?
Child support payments can be decided:
- By agreement between the parents
- By a New York family court
- During a divorce proceeding in the New York Supreme Court
If parents cannot agree, the Child Support Standards Act provides a standard formula for calculating child support obligations. The calculation starts with the parents’ income (less certain deductions), which is then multiplied by a standard percentage for the number of children. Then the non-custodial parent’s share of educational, child care, and medical expenses is calculated and added to the child support obligation.
The Court may deviate from the formula based on unique factors in each individual child support case, including:
- Each parent’s financial situation
- The child’s needs
- The standard of living the child would have had if the parents still lived together
- The difference between each parent’s income
- Nonmonetary contributions one parent may make to the child’s care
- Other factors the court considers relevant
If a parent’s circumstances change (for example, there is a change in income), he or she can ask that a child support obligation be adjusted.
How Custody Relates To Child Support
Custody and child support are only related in that it is usually the non-custodial parent who pays child support to the custodial parent. However, paying child support does not mean a parent has custody or visitation rights. And a parent may still owe child support, even if he or she does not have any visitation rights.
Call Our Experienced Child Support Attorneys
If you are a parent involved in a divorce, separation, child custody dispute, or child support proceeding, it is important that you have knowledgeable legal representation to protect your rights and your child’s well-being. Child custody and support orders may last many years and substantially affect your income and children’s schedules. Getting it correct is of critical importance.
In most cases, it will be less expensive and easier for everyone involved (including children) if parents can settle these matters on their own, with the help of their attorneys. Legal representation is important because verbal agreements (or written agreements that were drafted without a lawyer’s review) are not enough to protect you. Circumstances and feelings change, and a former spouse or partner may not honor a verbal promise. On top of that, a written agreement that does not meet New York’s specific legal requirements may not be enforceable.
If you are considering hiring a divorce and family law attorney, contact Frost & Kavanaugh to schedule a consultation. We pride ourselves on settling the vast majority of our divorce and family law cases without having to go to trial. This helps our clients avoid an expensive, painful, and time-consuming court battle, so they can move on to the next stage of their lives more quickly.