New York's child support laws are an essential tool to protect children and their parents. When parents aren't living together, the state often requires one parent to pay another parent money in order to contribute to the costs of raising a child. While this may seem straightforward, conflicts often arise out of issues related to the amount paid, the duration of payment, the collection of payment and the need to modify a support award as life changes.
Judges typically determine the amount of child support to be awarded based on a formula. This formula factors in the adjusted income of both parents and the number of children involved. Generally, the noncustodial parent will be expected to contribute 17 percent of his or her income for one child, 25 percent for two children, and 29 percent for three children. This percentage can climb above 35 percent for a parent with five or more kids.
A parent's share of other expenses, including medical care and educational costs, are also added in when determining support awards. A new law taking effect late in 2015 changes the formula for support awards in cases of divorce where spousal support is also being awarded.
Child support awards typically last until a child turns 21 years old. Payments can end earlier if a child moves out on his own or if she gets married or joins the military. These changes are not automatic. In fact, if you wish to change or end child support payments for any reason other than a child turning 21, you must get the approval of a judge. This is true even if you lose your job, are incarcerated by the state or make an agreement with the other parent to change the payment amount.
Sometimes a parent needs help enforcing a child support order. A competent divorce attorney can help you get the payments you are owed. The Division of Child Support Enforcement has the power to collect payments directly through payroll deductions or by taking tax refunds, bank accounts or other assets. When a parent fails to pay, their driver license can also be suspended.
At the firm of Goldberg Sager & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our lawyers work with parents and courts in New York to ensure that children receive the financial support they need while ensuring that parents are treated fairly. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Brooklyn divorce attorney, call 347.497.3245 or contact us online.