Establishing Child Support Rights and Responsibilities in Divorce or Paternity
In New York state, standardized guidelines are used to set the amount of child support payments in divorce and paternity cases. While the child support guidelines can give you a good idea of what to expect in your child support rights or obligations, there are many situations where an upward or downward variation could be justified under the facts of the case. Whether you will be making or receiving the payments, contact the New York child support lawyers of Figeroux & Associates. We offer dependable advice and resourceful advocacy based on nearly 16 years of experience focused on divorce and matrimonial law.
The guidelines formula requires the noncustodial parent to pay a percentage of income on a scale that increases with the number of children to be supported. The custodial parent’s income is considered in the calculation as well. Adjustments can be made if the number of overnight stays with the noncustodial parent exceeds a certain level, and other adjustments cover needs like medical insurance and deductible health care expenses.
Adjusting the Guidelines Amount to Reflect Special Needs and Circumstances
In cases where there are no complicating factors, it is unlikely that a court will order the payment of child support in an amount that substantially varies from the amount called for under the guidelines. In many situations, however, special circumstances can justify a request for a greater or lesser amount. They are:
Income calculation problems for parents who are self-employed.
Irregularities in reported income for either parent.
Unstable income due to seasonal employment, commission-based income, or job market conditions.
Support obligations for children from previous marriages or other relationships.
Special needs and expenses related to a child’s medical problems, emotional problems, important activities or extraordinary talents.
Unusual expenses or interruptions in earning power for the paying parent, such as temporary disability due to an accident or uninsured health care expenses.
Divorcing parents with relatively high incomes should note that the upper limit of the income scale covered by the guidelines is $130,000, based on the sum of both parents’ earnings. For parents who earn more, a higher child support payment can be ordered by the court, especially if the receiving parent can document the need and the paying parent’s ability to meet a higher obligation. For higher earners, it’s a good idea to regard the guidelines as defining a minimum payment rather than an upper limit.
Child support works in substantially the same way in paternity cases, with the most important exception reflected in the father’s inability to claim credit for frequent overnight custody without a valid visitation order in place. Fathers facing the determination of child support obligations in a paternity case need to consider moving for shared if custody and visitation they want the court to protect access to their children while establishing the amount of their support obligations. For more information about child support rights and responsibilities in New York divorce or paternity cases, contact the law firm of Figeroux & Associates in Brooklyn.