Resolving Child Support Issues In New York

In most divorce cases in which there are children - whether the divorce is a highly contested one or it is amicably resolved through settlement negotiations - an important part of the process involves resolution of the child support issue. Your children are not getting a divorce. And the Court will be concerned that the children's standard of living is maintained. If it is not addressed skillfully and correctly, that imperative may impose enormous financial pressures on both parent's ability to maintain separate households.

Get a free consultation by calling me at 212-499-0940 today.

Protecting Your Children, Protecting Your Rights

It is an all too common phenomenon in many divorce proceedings that the custodial parent feels impelled dramatically to fight tooth and nail for every dollar of child support money, while the non-custodial parent resents being portrayed as miserly or lacking in love for the child. Because the child support obligation may not be discharged in bankruptcy, and its enforcement may result in contempt and incarceration, the non-custodial parent should be wary not be shackled with unreasonable monthly child support payments that were based upon mistaken assumptions or accepted out of guilt or naiveté.

How The Courts Determine Child Support Amounts

Whichever side of the child support argument you are on, before you agree to anything, you should know what the result will be if you do not agree. New York courts determine child support awards pursuant to a three step formula that is contained in a statute known as the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA):

  1. Determine the combined parental income.
  2. Apply the proper percentage of combined parental income, which ranges from 17 percent to 35 percent of the combined parental income, depending on the number of children, to the combined parental income.
  3. Allocate the same percentage of the total basic child support award that the payor parent's income bears to the total combined parental income, up to the statutory cap of $130,000, or beyond that statutory cap that the court may determine.

Generally speaking, income is defined as the gross income that was or should have been reported on the income tax return, including investment income and minus FICA taxes actually paid and New York City or Yonkers income taxes. The court can also impute income, based on the parent's former resources, gifts from family and employee perks.

In addition to the basic child support award, the court will also award reasonable health care expenses, and it may also award child care expenses, enriched education expenses and so-called child support "add-ons."

Why You Need A Lawyer

Child support calculations may appear simple, and they sometimes are; but when there are financial shenanigans, or there is overreaching, you should have the benefit of an experienced and savvy attorney who understands the intricacies of the statute, the cases interpreting the statute and the procedures to litigate those issues. As a New York child support lawyer, I have more than 35 years of experience answering child support questions and dealing with other divorce issues. I can help you understand how to calculate or correct the child support award. My law office is a state-of-the-art boutique. We have the software, the legal forms and the capacity to instantly spring into action.

Because of the children, you will most likely need to retain an acceptable working relationship with your ex-spouse for years after the divorce has been finalized. I will help you to understand how the consequences of our strategic choices -- as part of the overall strategy -- can help us to successfully conclude your divorce case in a way that lets you move forward with your life and enables your children to suffer less from the inevitable emotional fall-out of the divorce.

I can help you make decisions in your divorce that balance the interests of cost-effectiveness and maintaining the necessary relationships long term. I am skilled at bringing the other side to the negotiating table, away from the high-visibility courtroom setting and away from the children's view, to come to the best agreement that will maintain the working relationships going forward.

Contact Me ∙ Free Initial Consultations

Either call my New York office at 212-499-0940 or contact me online for a free initial consultation.