- Child support
- Child custody
- Abuse and neglect proceedings
Here in New York, when you have a child, the law requires each parent financially care for that child even if the parents are no longer together. If you are going through a divorce or separation, it is important that matters of child support are dealt with fairly and in the best interest of your child. And, it is crucial your child support agreement is thorough and legally sound.
If you and your co-parent can agree on child support obligations, you can draft a divorce agreement with the help of an attorney. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, the court will make a decision based on New York law.
Whatever your situation, the child support attorneys at The Law Offices of Olga Suslova, P.C. can offer valuable guidance and representation. Our years of experience provide the insight and strategy you need for positive results in your family law case.
WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT AND WHO PAYS IT?
In short, child support is the financial support one parent pays the other to help care for their minor child or children. Basic cash child support is intended to cover day-to-day expenses such as groceries, housing, clothing, vacations, and more. In addition, parents must pay so-called “add-on expenses,” which include things like health insurance, medical expenses, school expenses and childcare. Generally, the non-primary custodial parent makes payments to the primary custodial parent. In cases where parents spend exactly equal amounts of time with a child, the spouse who earns more money presumably pays child support to the lesser-earning spouse. The amount of child support is based on the income of each parent.
Under New York child support laws, a parent is legally obligated to support their children until the age of 21, or until they are legally emancipated as defined by New York law.
It is important to note that either parent can be court-ordered to pay child support, even if they have little or no contact with their child – and there are many legal repercussions if they refuse or fail to make these payments.
CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT IN NYC
Here in New York, child support is calculated according to the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) guidelines. These guidelines are calculated by multiplying both parents’ combined incomes by the appropriate child support percentage and then distributing that number to each parent according to their proportional income. As of 2019, the child support income percentages are:
One child: 17%
Two children: 25%
Three children: 29%
Four children: 31%
Five + children: no less than 35%
However, if your combined income is more than $154,000 per year, the court has another option. They may use the formula above to determine the child support amount. Or, they can use the CSSA formula for the first $154,000 in combined income, and then determine the remainder based on the following factors:
Any gross disparity in the parents’ incomes
Needs of any other children of the non-custodial parent
Non-financial contributions each parent makes toward the well-being of the child
Tax consequences for each parent
The child’s physical and emotional health, as well as any special needs
The child’s standard of living
The financial resources of each parent
Child support in high-income or high net worth cases can be more complex and would need to be discussed at length with your attorney.
The NYC child support attorneys at The Law Offices of Olga Suslova, P.C. are happy to answer any questions you may have about child support and how much you may pay or owe.
IF MY EX REFUSES TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT, CAN I DENY PARENTAL ACCESS?
The short and definitive answer to this question is no. Child support and child custody are two separate matters in the eyes of the court. A custodial parent cannot deny parental access if the other parent stops paying child support.
If your or your child’s other parent’s life circumstances change and you can no longer afford your child support payments, you may file for a modification of your support agreement. Our New York City attorneys can help guide you through this process. We can also help you enforce a child support agreement in the event you are not receiving your payments.
CAN I SEEK CHILD SUPPORT EVEN IF WE WERE NEVER MARRIED?
Both parents, regardless of marital status, are responsible for the financial support of their child. This means that, if you are the primary custodial parent of your child, you have the right to seek child support from the other parent, even if he/she has no contact with the child. However, in some cases, you may need to first establish paternity. A mother may wish to do so in order to compel a father to pay child support, or a father may wish to establish paternity to gain custody rights.
MY CHILD’S PARENT WILL NOT PAY CHILD SUPPORT, WHAT ACTION CAN I TAKE?
The New York City courts take non-payment of child support very seriously. When your child’s parent is refusing to pay child support, you can take legal action against him/her in the form of a violation petition. The court holds a hearing to determine if the child support action was indeed violated and, if so, they can take various actions, including:
Garnishing their paycheck
Suspension of driver’s license or professional license
Revocation of passport, interception of tax refund and bank accounts
Held in contempt of court and jailed for up to six months
Our skilled legal team can work with you to secure your children the support they need and deserve.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PHYSICAL AND LEGAL CUSTODY
There are two general types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.Top Brooklyn New York Child Custody Attorney
Physical custody is the responsibility of providing the child with a home. It is sometimes known as residential custody. A parent who has physical custody of their child provides a place to sleep, food, access to household goods and utilities, and an overall nurturing environment for the child in their home. Parents who do not have physical custody of their children may have visitation, court-ordered time together to maintain consistent relationships with them.
Legal custody is the responsibility to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, such as choosing the school the child will attend, determining the religion in which the child will be raised, and making medical decisions for the child.
Physical custody and legal custody exist independently of each other, though a parent can have both. Having physical custody of a child does not guarantee that a parent has legal custody of them and vice versa.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JOINT CUSTODY AND SOLE CUSTODY
Physical custody and legal custody can be awarded as joint custody or sole custody.
Joint custody is typically the preferred way for the court to award a child’s parents custody. With joint custody, both parents have the rights and responsibilities associated with raising a child. Joint physical custody means that the child lives with one parent 50 percent of the time and the other parent 50 percent of the time. In an arrangement like this, however, one parent may still be required to pay child support to the other to help with the costs of providing for the child.
Joint legal custody means that both parents have the right to make important decisions on their child’s behalf. It also means that they must agree to decisions before any legal action, such as authorizing surgery or transferring the child to a new school, can occur. For joint legal custody to be possible, parents must be willing and able to work cooperatively to make beneficial decisions on their child’s behalf.
In arrangements where the child spends more time living with one parent than the other, that parent has sole physical custody of the child, and the other parent has visitation. A parent with sole physical custody of his or her child is typically the parent who can claim the child as a dependent on his or her tax return, but the other parent may claim the child if such permission is written into the parents’ divorce settlement or if the parents submit Form 8332 with their tax returns. Only one parent may claim the child as a dependent.
Sole legal custody means that one parent has decision-making power regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and other “big” issues in the child’s life. The other parent may make small decisions during his or her custodial time with the child, and he or she may have an input to these bigger decisions, but ultimately, the parent with sole legal custody has the final say regarding any legal decisions involving the child.