Understanding Payment Rights and Obligations Under New York Law
For more than 20 years, the New York Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) has taken a great deal of the guesswork out of the determination of child support payments in Supreme Court divorce actions and Family Court support and paternity petitions. Our office can help you understand how the basic guidelines formula works, what adjustments are made to the gross income of the parents, and the reasons that could support an attempt to achieve a higher or lower child support payment than the result yielded by the CSSA formula.
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 formula applies whether the parents are married or unmarried.
Determining Child Support
The CSSA determines the amount of a support order based on a formula. The percentages which are applied to the combined income of the parties based on the number of children:
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, a child support order is based on the combined parental income up to $143,000. For parents having a combined income of over $130,000 per year, the court may deviate from the child support standards 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 the parent may file a petition for modification of the Court order. Do NOT wait to file for a modification if you can not afford your payments because your support order obligations will continue. If you do not seek the modification arrears will accrue and you will be liable for any support owed until you file your modification. There are various modification standards and 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 you have an order of support and child support payments are not being received, 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. In the most severe cases, a court can hold the parent who should be paying child support in contempt and order a parent to be incarcerated.
What to expect in court?
Call to Speak With A New York Child Support Lawyer
Contact the Law Office of Martin Mohr, if you have questions about filing for child support for the first time or about child support modifications, violations or enforcement of existing orders. Now is the time to act. Certain filings are time sensitive and can have a financial impact on your obligation.
Click here to see the Child Support Standards Chart
Add on expenses
A non custodial parent may also ask for additional expenses or "add ons" as a part of support payments These may include:
child care expenses
medical expenses not covered by insurance