Child Support Lawyers
New York Child Support Lawyers
NYC Child Support Attorneys Ready to Assist You
Confronting a divorce or separation is not only devastating; it is often exceptionally stressful and confusing, especially when it involves children. One of the many complex aspects of a divorce is the calculation of child support. Compounded by a variety of factors, determining child support requires an experienced child support lawyer to navigate this difficult situation. This professional must possess knowledge of the detailed elements of the law, resources to provide the proper support, and skill to resolve cases effectively, all absolutely essential in settling any child support claim to your satisfaction.
When you choose to hire the experts at Tsigler Law, you can rest assured your case will be handled with the utmost care. Our team boasts decades of experience managing hundreds of child support claims. We provide the first-rate legal counsel necessary for the proper resolution of such a challenging and often overwhelming situation. To get started in your child support claim, consider the following information on how child support works in New York and what you can expect during this process. Then contact us today to discuss your claim.
Get fair and aggressive advocacy for your child support case. Call our New York City family law attorneys today!
How Does Child Support Work in New York?
When a marriage ends, both parties naturally find themselves concerned about the child’s future and hopefully seek to make the best decision for the child. After child custody is determined based on the child’s best interests, the next step comprises the parents coming together to resolve the issue of child support. Child support laws are established at a state level, but they are affected by federal laws. Congress mandated that each state enact specific child support guidelines to meet eligibility requirements to receive federal funding to maintain enforcement services specifically for child support.
According to New York State law, both of a child’s parents must financially support them until they turn 21 years old. This remains true even if the parents never lived together or never married. Likewise, it holds if the child has never lived with the parent or does not live with them now. Child support is meant to begin starting on the day of the child’s birth. It includes cash payments based on the income of the parent and the needs of the particular child.
A child with special needs may require continuing child support after their 21st birthday. A child who has been emancipated, gets married, or joins a military branch may have their child support terminated before reaching the age of 21.
How Is Child Support Determined?
New York utilizes an income shares model to determine child support awards, based on the idea that children should receive the same proportion of each parent’s income that they would be receiving if the parents remained together. The guidelines and percentages are the same for every income level.
In most cases, to ensure the appropriate resources are available to raise the child, the parent without physical custody, referred to as the non-custodial parent, is legally obligated to provide child support to the parent with physical custody, or the custodial parent. These payments are typically non-tax-deductible by the payor and non-taxable by the recipient. The custodial parent may receive support even if their income is sufficient to support the child themselves.
If the parents were never married, an Acknowledgment of Paternity or an Order of Filiation is required to establish paternity. When parents are separated but continue living together, one parent can receive child support if the other refuses to help with the child’s bills. When a child is in foster care, both parents bear the responsibility for child support.
Child support may be ordered as part of a divorce case in New York State Supreme Court, ordered by filing a petition in New York State Family Court, or in a written arrangement, which must meet certain requirements to be accepted. In New York, there are Support Collection Units (SCU) and Child Support Enforcement Units (CSEU) in every county, as well as in New York City, to collect and distribute payments and to enforce support orders if proper payments are not being made.
Ideally, the parents can reach an agreement regarding child support. If they are unable to do so, the court will determine the expected level of support using a mathematical formula considering both parents’ combined income. Referred to as the basic child support obligation, this figure includes the cost of shelter, food, clothing, and other general expenses. Additionally, certain add-on costs are ordered, including the cost of health care, childcare, and education.
Calculating the Basic Child Support Obligation
The basic child support obligation is calculated by multiplying the parents’ total income, after subtracting certain deductions, by a predetermined percentage varying based on how many children should receive support. This amount is then divided between the two parents proportionate to their individual income.
There is usually a cap applying to gross income, currently set at $154,000. Income in excess of this amount requires a separate calculation in which the court determines whether the guideline percentages will be applied or if a different percentage should be calculated. At this point, deductions are subtracted from the gross income, such as income tax, child support, alimony, or benefits from public assistance, to form adjusted incomes.
The two adjusted incomes are then added together to form what is referred to as combined parental income. This figure is multiplied by the applicable percentage based on the number of children:
- 1 child = 17% of combined parental income
- 2 children = 25% of combined parental income
- 3 children = 29% of combined parental income
- 4 children = 31% of combined parental income
- 5 or more children = no less than 35% of combined parental income
Finally, each parent’s individual income is divided into the total combined parent income to determine each parent’s proportional share. The percentage contributing by the non-custodial parent to the combined parental income equals the percentage of child support they are responsible for paying. For example, a non-custodial parent contributing 35% of the total yearly combined income is responsible for 35% of the amount necessary for raising the child.
Income may include not only wages or salary received from a job but also annuity payments, fellowship awards, stipends, unemployment insurance benefits, disability benefits, worker’s compensation, and pension, retirement, or Social Security benefits. The court may also consider income potential or additional income that has not been reported on their tax returns.
While the child support amount is based on the income shares model, the court may choose to deviate from this amount due to several factors, such as financial resources, standard of living, health and wellbeing, visitation costs, tax considerations, or any exceptional needs of the child. The child support order may also be updated if there is a change in employment or if the expected support amount would result in the non-custodial parent being unable to support themselves, estimated at $17,226.
Adjusting for Add-On Support
In addition to the basic child support obligation, add-on expenses are calculated and added to the support obligation. Each parent bears responsibility for their own proportional share of these expenses. Health care and childcare are considered mandatory add-on expenses.
Health care includes the cost of the child’s health insurance and any health care expenses that will not be reimbursed, such as copayments. Childcare is defined as any necessary childcare expenses incurred while the custodial parent is working, obtaining primary or secondary education, or obtaining post-secondary or vocational education that has been deemed by the court as leading to work.
Parents are expected to share responsibility for health care and childcare costs that are considered reasonable. This means that if a custodial parent incurs medical or childcare expenses without the other parent’s consent, that may be considered unreasonable, they are at risk of being solely responsible for these costs.
Non-mandatory add-on expenses may be included by the court as well, such as educational expenses or the cost of extracurricular activities.
Hire a Legal Representative from Tsigler Law Today
If you need to file a child support claim, contact the experts at Tsigler Law today. The process of separation or divorce is already painful and complicated, so having an experienced lawyer on your side to help determine child support can greatly alleviate some of your stress. A qualified New York child support lawyer can explain your options, address your unique needs, and effectively represent you in court. Call us today at (718) 682-7650 to discuss your situation. Our team is available to help you.
Child Support Results
Boyfriend & girlfriend dated for six years, had a child together. The boyfriend moved out of state and refused to pay child support. We filed a child support action in NY, tracked down the father & won a substantial award in favor of the mother.
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Getting representation as soon as possible following any Child Support-related charge is the best way to promote a positive result from a subsequent trial. Only an experienced New York Child Support lawyer can successfully defend your case.