Child Support

Buffalo Child Support Lawyer

How is Child Support Calculated in New York?

The divorce settlement process brings up issues that can be difficult. How the spouses will continue raising their children is certainly among those. How the question of child support is ultimately settled will be important to both the settlement, as well as the future of the children and their parents.

The state of New York splits child support into two categories:

  • The first is basic needs - his covers the costs of food, clothes, and housing. 
  • The second category is referred to as add-ons - this covers medical care and childcare (presuming the custodial parent is working). Add-ons can, depending on the circumstances, cover educational expenses, extracurriculars and therapy.

The next step under state law is to use a formula that applies the incomes earned by each spouse. Using the combined income of both spouses, the state assumes that if there is one child, 17 percent of that income will go to child support. Two children calls for 25 percent. The incremental increases continue up to the point of five children and 35 percent of parental income.

Each parent may earn a different amount and the parent with primary physical custody will have greater need of the income. Therefore, the next step is to determine each parent’s proportional share of the child support costs. The non-custodial parent then pays their share to the custodial parent.

Here’s a basic example on how it might work–the non-custodial parent earns $60,000 annually and the custodial parent makes $40,000 a year. They have three children, which calls for 29 percent of parental income to go towards child support. The combined income is $100,000, so that means $29,000 a year must go to the costs of raising children. The non-custodial parent earns 60 percent of the combined income Therefore, their proportionate share of the $29,000 in child support would amount to $17,400 annually. That can be broken down into a monthly support payment of $1,450.

This basic formula applies up to a combined income of $148,800. When combined incomes exceed this figure, an Erie County Family Court judge can exercise discretion in regards to the formula.

New York law provides children with basic protections, but there’s still much left to be negotiated by the lawyers. The Buffalo child support lawyer at DePrima Law will fight for an agreement that secures your best interests. Call us at (716) 638-2633or reach out onlineto set up a consultation.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Life changes. One parent might get a raise or a promotion. Or they might get laid off and have to accept a lower-paying job. The terms that created the original child support payment plan might no longer apply. When this happens, a modification of the original agreement can be sought.

Courts in the state of New York look for a substantial change in circumstances. A specific guideline is often whether there has been a 15 percent change in a parent’s income, with that change lasting for at least three years.

It is important that parents not change their support payments without court approval. Even if there’s a verbal understanding between the parents, this should not happen. While the parents are stewards of the involved monies, it must be noted that this money is intended for the benefit of the kids. A parent on hard times should call their lawyer to seek out a modification.

Acting unilaterally can have significant legal consequences The failure to pay child support carries with it the potential for arrest and up to six months in jail–with support payments continuing to pile up.

Child support is one part of the divorce settlement process, and how that process is resolved will significantly impact quality of life for parents and their children. DePrima Law has over 18 years of experience helping spouses resolve these issues. 

Does Child Support Last Beyond Age 18?

New York is in a minority of states that does require child support payments past the age of 18 or high school graduation. New York child support will continue until the child is 21 years old.

It should be noted that this means support payments do end when a child might still be in the midst of undergraduate work in college. A Buffalo child support attorney can address the costs of higher education in the overall settlement agreement. Parents may well agree on the need to put kids through college and perhaps beyond. But it does have to be worked out specifically in the settlement negotiations.

Call our Buffalo office today at (716) 638-2633 or contact us online for help.

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