Whatever your situation, the child support attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP 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.Schedule a consultation
Navigating Complex Situations Involving Child Support
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 agreement, the court will make a decision based on New York law.
Whatever your situation, the child support attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP 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 $148,000 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 $148,000 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 Manhattan child support attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP are happy to answer any questions you may have about child support and how much you may pay or owe.
Can You Sue for Back Child Support in NYC?
Yes, you can sue for back child support in NYC. The statute of limitations for collecting back child support in New York is 20 years. This means that you can file a lawsuit to collect back child support for any amount owed for up to 20 years from the date the support was due.
To file a lawsuit for back child support, you must petition the Family Court in the county where the child lives. The petition must include information about the child, the parents, and the amount of child support owed. You will also need to serve the petition on the other parent.
Once filing the petition, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the court will decide whether to order the other parent to repay child support. The court will also determine how much back child support is owed and how the owing parent should make the payments. If the other parent does not pay the back child support, the court can issue a warrant for their arrest. The court can also seize the other parent's property or garnish their wages.
If you are owed back child support, filing a lawsuit as soon as possible is essential. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to collect the back support.
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.
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO DIFFICULT & COMPLEX PROBLEMS
All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.
PROMPT RESPONSES TO INDIVIDUAL NEEDS AND INQUIRES
Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.
CHOICES AND OPTIONS TAILORED TO EACH CASE
We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.
INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADERS DEDICATED TO YOUR SUCCESS
Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.
No matter the relationship between you and your child’s other parent, your child’s needs and well-being come first. The Manhattan family law attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP can help ensure your children receives the support to which they are entitled. Schedule a consultation today at (212) 466-6015 or fill out our contact form.