Ms. Daniels understands the struggles families experience to ensure that their children’s needs are met and how divorce or separation can impact on their ability to meet these needs due to increased expenses of operating two households. While child support is governed by statute, there are a variety of issues that affect the payment of child support, including joint custody, changes in income and the special needs of children. Ms. Daniels can help you to obtain child support orders or modify and enforce existing child support orders. Ms. Daniels is experienced in assisting parents seeking support and those chargeable with support, to ensure that the right amount of support is calculated and child support add-ons are properly allocated.
New York Law
All parents are chargeable with the support of their children. Support obligations last until a child reaches the age of 21 or becomes emancipated by marriage, full-time employment, or entry to the military services. A child can also become emancipated by the refusal to live under the power and control of his or her parents. Often, parents agree to a support obligation until the child has completed eight semesters of college, which usually occurs after that child has reached 21 years of age.
Basic Child Support
The New York Child Support Standards Act governs the amount that parents must pay for the support of their children. The child support percentages are as follows:
- One Child 17%
- Two Children 25%
- Three Children 29%
- Four Children 31%
- Five + Children no less than 35%
Child support also consists of “add-ons” for child care and unreimbursed medical expenses, to be calculated pro-rata based on the earnings of both parents. Discretionary add-on expenses may include educational expenses, religious education, and extracurricular activities.
Some parents may seek to hide or deflate income for the purposes of calculating a child support award. In some cases, parents may become under-employed or unemployed to reduce the amount they owe for child support. Ms. Daniels is experienced in dealing with these scenarios and will seek an award of child support to be calculated based on imputed income, which is attributing an amount of income greater than the payor’s actual reported income based on prior earnings or earning potential, so that a fair award can be established.
Obtaining Orders of Child Support
Child support determinations occur during a divorce, either by agreement or through filing motions for support in Supreme Court. Child support is also determined in Family Court by the filing of a petition for support.
Modifying Support Orders or Agreements
Once a party has obtained an Order of Support or established an agreement of support pursuant to a divorce stipulation or Judgment of Divorce, that parent can seek a modification of the order or agreement in Family Court or in the Post Judgment Part of Supreme Court.
Support Orders or agreements of support can be modified upon a showing of a significant change of circumstances which include increased needs of the child, increased cost of living and any changes in the financial circumstances of the parents. Specifically, Family Court Act §451 and Domestic Relations Law §236B allow for a modification of child support when: 1) three years have passed since the initial order was entered, modified or adjusted; 2) a change in either party’s gross income by 15% or more since the order was last entered, modified or adjusted.
Ms. Daniels has the experience necessary to help you to obtain appropriate awards or agreements of support for your children.