What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support, as its name implies, is money paid to a child’s custodial parent to help cover the expenses associated with raising a child, such as the need for food, childcare, sufficient housing and transportation, utilities, the child’s school supplies and personal items, and even the child’s enrichment through extracurricular activities and toys. Your child support order may specify that payments are to be made weekly, biweekly, monthly, or bimonthly.
How Is Child Support Determined In New York?
In New York, child support is governed by the Child Support Standards Act. Child support orders are created with the intention of giving a child the same standard of living that he or she would have enjoyed if his or her parents had not divorced.
A basic child support order is for a specified percentage of the paying parent’s income. The percentage he or she must pay is determined by the number of children he or she has to support. For example, a parent paying child support for one child must pay 17 percent of his or her income. For a parent paying for two children, this amount is 25 percent. But this is only the beginning of a child support order’s determination. Other factors, like income received through workers’ compensation and disability payments, the child’s educational expenses, and which parent provides medical insurance for the child are also considered when determining an appropriate child support amount. For parents with a combined income over $143,000, the court can deviate from its percentage guidelines to find a fair amount. For paying parents living below the poverty line ($11,880 in 2016), a child support order of $25 per month may be put in place. For individuals whose income is below New York’s Self-Support Reserve level of $16,038, a child support order of $50 may be established.
Can I Alter My Child Support Order?
Yes. Sometimes, life circumstances like job loss, illness, and retirement make it impossible to continue paying a court-ordered amount of child support. If you find yourself in this position, talk to your lawyer about modifying the amount of support you are required to pay. Do not, under any circumstance, allow yourself to become delinquent with your payments. This can lead to criminal charges and potential penalties like wage garnishment and a driver’s license suspension. Failing to pay your child support is an act of contempt of court and in extreme cases, can result in jail time for the delinquent parent.
To modify your child support order, you must submit a petition to the court that demonstrates one of the following:
- At least three years have passed since the creation of the initial order, and in that time, one or both parents’ incomes have changed;
- Either you or your former partner have experienced an increase or decrease in income by 15 percent or greater; or
- You have experienced a significant change in circumstances, such as an illness or loss of your job.
When it comes to your family, we handle your case with care. Our firm’s mission includes superior client service by:
- Listening closely
- Maintaining respect
- Openly communicating
- Making wise choices for your case
- Working efficiently and effectively
Our attorneys have gleaned skills over years of practice which allow them to be aggressive advocates for our clients in court but that never takes away the compassionate care we provide our clients.
Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a parent is key when approaching the subject of child custody. We keep our clients informed and educated on the laws and topics that may affect the result of their case while striving to find the best possible solution for them and their children.