When relationships fall apart and children are involved, there are strict laws meant to financially protect those under age 21. The Federal Family Support Act of 1988 requires every state to devise numerical child support guidelines. These guidelines take into consideration a federal requirement that the figures are neither unjust nor inappropriate.These guidelines take into consideration a federal requirement that the figures are neither unjust nor inappropriate. They’re designed to overcome three consistent problems in these types of child support cases, including insufficient levels of support, inconsistency of criteria used by judges to fashion awards, and inefficiency in the adjudication of child support. There are many protective mechanisms put into place to ensure the needs of the children are met.
In New York, the calculations are typically based upon the income of the parents however there are other methods when the income is not properly ascertainable.There are also instances when adjustments to existing court orders for child support need to be requested or defended against. The primary goal of child support laws are to ensure child support is adequate and to do that the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) is used. Under the CSSA, the court allocates a specific percentage of the parent’s combined income to child support based on the number of children:
17% for one child
25% for two children
29% for three children
31% for four children
35% for five or more children
Child support payments are intended to cover the costs of the care, maintenance and education of the children. Every state has its own unique guidelines but it’s important to remember that the liability for support falls to both parents, not just the non-custodial parent.
Child support laws are case-specific and there are intricate laws that share the same foundation, but also have variations and other denominators that could play a role in the court’s decision and how much support is ultimately ordered.
“The laws have recently changed and there are many factors utilized to derive the appropriate figures.”
New York courts initially apply the above percentages to incomes up to $141,000; however, they also are afforded discretion to apply different percentages to combined parental income in excess of $141,000.00. And the courts often deviate from the above percentages to achieve equity and fairness. Again, it’s important to remember that the court puts the child’s needs first. Depending on the unique situations, a court may also award an additional sum of money for other expenses such as child care, insurance, out of pocket healthcare expenses and college funds. Child support can be paid directly to the custodial parent, or in those instances where non-payment of support is a concern, the court may order that child support be paid through the Support Collection Unit. The SCU keeps records and can even enforce arrears.
At the Law Offices of Seidner & Associates, PC, our child support attorneys not only understand the latest statutes and cases, but can represent you in a way that minimizes stress felt by you and your children. Litigating child support in Long Island is never easy and emotions run deep but we always ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.