As parents, it is our duty to ensure that our children’s fundamental needs are met, including necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education. When parents decide to end their marriage, child support becomes a crucial aspect in maintaining the well-being of the children involved. The non-custodial parent is responsible for contributing to the child’s welfare through financial assistance, ensuring that their needs continue to be met despite the separation.
In New York, child support laws are designed to protect the best interests of the child and ensure they receive the proper care and support they deserve. Navigating these laws and regulations can be challenging, which is why it is crucial to seek the guidance of a qualified and experienced New York child support lawyer.
Don’t leave your child’s future to chance – contact the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum today at (646) 259-3416 for a consultation to ensure your child’s needs are protected during and after your divorce.
The CSSA Formula
New York’s Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) uses a formula to calculate each parent’s financial obligation to support the children. It applies to combined income above the poverty line and up to $143,000. Using the formula, each parent’s share of the combined gross household income is assigned a percentage, and that percentage is used to determine who pays how much. The calculation takes into account employment income, government benefits such as disability, rental income, and even cash gifts and lottery winnings.
The law states that a basic child support amount be set at a fixed percentage of combined parental income, with the exact percentage depending on the number of children requiring support. For one child, the amount is 17%. Other percentages are:
- 25% for two children
- 29% for three children
- 31% for four children
- At least 35% for five or more children
For higher-income parents who exceed the $143,000 threshold, the court may use the percentages established by the CSSA, which usually results in a larger percentage of income being ordered in child support. This is based on the assumption of higher discretionary income. Alternatively, the court may consider factors like the parent’s financial means and additional needs of the child to arrive at a support order it deems fair.
Modification of Child Support Order
Each party can file a petition for modification of the order of child support if there are changes in either of their circumstances. A modification petition must be filed by the party seeking to change the order. It should include a statement about the proposed change. A summons and the petition must be delivered to both parties. The court will then hold a hearing to make a judgment on whether the child support order needs to be changed.
All orders paid to the Support Collections Unit are subject to an automatic review every three years. This review is done to see if there is any need for an adjustment in the child support order. The review will be done following the request of either party or in cases when the parent with custody of the child receives public aid. Each party is notified that they have the right to ask the Support Collections Unit for a review of an order and are also notified about any possible changes in the order. They may ask for a hearing before the Support Magistrate if they are not satisfied with the new order. Then, a new support order may be established.
While it is possible to use a DIY form to make a petition for changing a child support order, speaking to an experienced child support lawyer can be very helpful. A skilled lawyer may be able to help you avoid making mistakes on the petition and can help ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities in the child support order.
Call the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum today to speak with a skilled child support lawyer.
Can Parents Agree to No Child Support
Children have the right to benefit from the income and standard of living of both parents, even if they no longer live together. Parents may create child support agreements outside of the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) by reaching a stipulation outside of court. However, custodial parents are unable to waive child support completely, but they may agree on the amount of support as long as it meets the children’s needs and adheres to the CSSA guidelines.
For an opt-out agreement to be valid, both parents must willingly and knowingly agree to the arrangement. The agreement must acknowledge the CSSA guidelines and include a copy of the CSSA guidelines chart for pro se parties. It must also state that a support order based on the guidelines would typically be correct. Furthermore, if the agreement deviates from the CSSA guidelines, it must include the amount that would have been awarded under the CSSA and the reasons for not providing for payment of that amount.
If an opt-out agreement is not valid, child support will be established based on the CSSA. Therefore, it is vital for parents to work closely with their attorney to fully understand child support law and their child support arrangements.
While parents cannot completely waive child support, they can agree on a different amount or arrangement outside the CSSA guidelines if specific requirements are met and the children’s needs are met. It is crucial to seek the guidance of a skilled New York child support lawyer to ensure that the agreement is valid and in the best interest of the children involved.
|Obligation of Parents||Parents must provide for basic needs of children including food, clothing, shelter, medical, education and insurance.|
|CSSA Formula||New York’s CSSA calculates each parent’s financial obligation to support the children based on combined income above the poverty line and up to $143,000.|
|Basic Child Support Amount||A fixed percentage of combined parental income is used to determine child support, based on the number of children requiring support.|
|Percentage of Combined Income||17% for one child, 25% for two, 29% for three, 31% for four, and at least 35% for five or more children.|
|Higher-Income Parents||Court may use CSSA percentages or consider parent’s financial means and child’s needs for fair support order.|
|Modification of Child Support Order||Parties can file a petition for modification of child support order. Orders subject to automatic review every three years.|
|Income Imputation||Court can impute income to underemployed or unemployed parents to avoid paying child support.|
|Enforcement of Child Support||Child Support Enforcement Unit can garnish wages, claim a portion of unemployment benefits, tax refund or bank accounts. Non-payment could lead to loss of driver’s license or jail.|
Your Ex Is Under-Reporting Income
If you’re convinced that your ex makes a lot more money than he or she is reporting, the court can investigate further. A judge has the authority to impute income to parents who are unemployed or appear to be reporting less money than they are actually making. Income imputation is commonly used when a parent appears to be remaining underemployed or even unemployed to avoid paying child support.
Your Ex Won’t Pay
Just because a parent refuses to pay child support doesn’t mean it can’t be collected. The Child Support Enforcement Unit can garnish wages, claim a portion of unemployment benefits or a tax refund, and in extreme cases, seize the contents of a non-payor’s bank accounts. The parent could even lose their driver’s license and go to jail for refusing to obey a court order.
Child support can be a complicated matter. At the Law Office of Richard Roman Shum, we can assist you in determining what you owe or can expect to receive, but if there are special circumstances or your ex is being deceptive about income, you want a diligent and determined attorney in your corner. We will help you get the support your children need or ensure that the amount you are being asked to pay is fair. For more information or to schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us us today.