Both parents share the financial responsibility of raising their children after a divorce or separation. According to New York child support laws, the custodial parent is entitled to additional financial assistance from the non-custodial parent. This money is intended to help pay for the child's living costs and basic care, including food, clothing, education, shelter and entertainment. New York uses a formula-based approach to child support as set forth in the “Child Support Standards Act,” or “CSSA.” The amount of child support the non-custodial parent must pay is based on a percentage of income and the number of children that are involved. A court can deviate from the child support guidelines depending on the circumstances of the case. The CSSA applies whether the parents are married or unmarried.
Learn more about child support guidelines in New York, and please contact the lawyers at Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, if you need legal advice regarding your case. Based in Glenville, our child support attorneys serve Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, and the Capital District of New York, as well as the surrounding communities. Please fill out the form on this page, and a member of our staff will reply promptly.
- Filing for Child Support
- Determining Child Support
- Modifications to Child Support Orders
- Violations of Child Support Orders
FILING FOR CHILD SUPPORT
Child support payments are designed to help the custodial parent, or the parent who assumes primary physical custody of the child, with the child's living costs and basic care. Custodial parents are entitled by New York law to file a petition or bring an application to obtain financial assistance from the non-custodial parent. Child support proceedings may occur in Family Court or if a divorce action is pending, Supreme Court may handle child support. As part of the child support proceedings, parents will need to submit financial statements, such as Financial Disclosure Affidavits or Statements of Net Worth, and submit such things as tax returns and pay stubs. The court can take into account each parent's income and expenses, and may consider the child's needs and the standard of living before the divorce or separation. After reviewing the case, the support magistrates or judges will often issue a written child support order. New York law says parents are expected to support their children until the age of 21, unless the child is sooner emancipated, marries, or joins the military.
It is highly advisable that parents retain the legal services of an experienced child support lawyer. The lawyers at Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey, LLP, are familiar with the complexities of New York child support laws. Our attorneys guide parents through the process of filing a child support petition or application, going to court, and adhering to the court's ruling. If you'd like to schedule a consultation to discuss the child support laws affecting your particular case, please contact our Glenville, New York office today.
DETERMINING CHILD SUPPORT
The Child Support Standards Act determines the amount of a support order based upon a formula. The statute sets forth percentages which are applied to income and specifically:
- 17% for one child
- 25% for two children
- 29% for three children
- 31% for four children
- No less than 35% for five or more children
As of January 30, 2010, the court increased the cap for combined parental income to $130,000 (it was previously $80,000). For parents having combined income of over $130,000 per year, the court may fix child support by application of the formula above the cap or it can deviate from the child support guidelines.
Both parents share the other mandatory components of child support, including child care, health insurance and health expenses not covered by insurance, typically in proportion to their incomes.
MODIFICATIONS TO CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS
Should a parent's ability to pay child support change (by either a layoff or job change, for example) the parent may file a petition for modification of the court order. There are various modification standards, depending on whether child support was determined after trial or whether it first arose in an agreement. An experienced child support attorney can review your case and determine which modification standard will apply and determine whether it is advisable to apply for modification of the child support award.
VIOLATIONS OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS
If the support payor ceases to make child support payments, the parent receiving support can file a "violation" or “enforcement petition” with family court. If the parties were married, Supreme Court may also have jurisdiction to determine child support enforcement. The court may hold a hearing to determine whether a violation occurred and consider various options moving forward. The court may order that payments be taken directly from the support payor's paycheck, or that they make a one-time, lump payment to become current. The court could even suspend that parent's driver's, professional, or business license or direct a parent to be incarcerated. Support recipients who are owed child support payments from a non-responsive parent should get in touch with our lawyers to discuss their rights and options.