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Child Support

With respect to issues surrounding child support, it is best to work with an attorney who will fight to make sure that your children receive the financial support they deserve – whether you are being asked to pay child support; are struggling to keep up with your child support payments; or are seeking child support from your soon to be or former spouse.

The knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at the Law Offices of Nathan Pinkhasov, PLLC understand that this is a difficult time for you and that you want to make sure that your child receives what they are entitled to receive.

New York State law says that children are entitled to share in the income and standard of living of both parents. Child support is the money that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent if the child is under 21 or is earlier emancipated, such as by reaching 18 years of age and living on his/her own and wring full-time; marries; or enlists in the military, but may be extended beyond that age while the Child attends college, based upon agreement between the parents.

In New York State, the issue of child support can be decided either by New York State Supreme Court or by the Family Court.   During a divorce proceeding, if child support has not already been decided by the Family Court, then it will be addressed by the Supreme Court in the divorce action.  When parents are unmarried, it is the usual practice to have the issue of child support determined by the Family Court.

The amount of child support to be paid is based on a strict formula set by the Child Support Standards Act ("CSSA") (Domestic Relations Law §240(1--b) and Family Court Act § 413(1)(b)).

Child support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent for the support, maintenance and education of the children.  It generally does not include voluntary gifts, clothes, transportation, vacation expenses or rent for the benefit the child and thus these items may not be considered "child support".

The "basic child support obligation" is calculated by multiplying the "combined parental income" by the appropriate "child support percentage." "Income" is defined as "gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return" minus deductions for social security and New York City and Yonkers income taxes." Income that is “off the books” must also be included. If the “off the books” income is not conceded, the other party must prove its existence and amount in court before it will be included.

The "child support percentage" is as follows:

  1. 17% of the combined parental income for one child;
  2. 25% of the combined parental income for two children;
  3. 29% of the combined parental income for three children;
  4. 31% of the combined parental income for four children; and
  5. no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.

Once the percentage of combined parental income has been calculated, each party’s proportionate share will be calculated.  For example, if the non-custodial parent earns 70% of the combined income, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation will be 70% of the amount calculated.

Should the Court determine that the amount of child support provided under the CSSA is unjust or inappropriate, it can order a different amount. However, in the majority of cases, the courts have followed the formula set out in the CSSA.

Likewise, the parents can “opt out” of the CSSA by agreeing on a higher/lower amount of child support.  In order to do so, the parents must sign a written agreement stating that they have been advised of the provisions of the CSSA, the amount of child support that would be required under the CSSA, that the deviation from the mandated amount would be in the best interest of the children, and the reasons for the deviation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Nathan Pinkhasov, PLLC are experienced in preparing these types of agreements and will negotiate terms to your satisfaction.

In addition to ordering the payment of child support, the Court can order the non-custodial parent to pay his/her pro rata share of the child's future reasonable health care expenses not covered by insurance and reasonable child care expenses when the custodial parent works or attends school. The Court also has discretion to order the non-custodial parent to pay the costs of present or future private, special or enriched education for the children.

Modification of Child Support:

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Nathan Pinkhasov, PLLC have experience in modifying orders of child support based upon changes in the circumstances, until a child is emancipated, the court retains the power to modify child support upon a demonstration of a substantial change in the circumstances of one or both of the parents. Such modification could result in an increase or decrease in the parental support obligation. There are a variety of factors that could be deemed a change in circumstances, unemployment by one of the parties, reduction in income of one or both of the parties.  Notably, remarriage of either parent is not automatically considered a substantial change of circumstances.

Incarceration shall not be a bar to finding a substantial change in circumstances provided such incarceration is not the result of non-payment of a child support order, or an offense against the custodial parent or child who is the subject of the order or judgment. 

In addition, unless the parties have specifically opted out of the following provisions in a validly executed agreement or stipulation entered into between the parties, in divorce actions commenced in the Supreme Court after October 12, 2010, the court may modify an order of child support where:

  1. Three years have passed since the order was entered, last modified ort adjusted; or
  2. (II) There has been a change in either party’s gross income by 15% or more since the order was entered, last modified, or adjusted.  A reduction in income shall not be considered as a ground for modification unless it was involuntary and the party has made diligent attempts to secure employment commensurate with his or her education, ability, and experience.

Enforcement of Child Support:

The knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of Nathan Pinkhasov, PLLC understand that not receiving child support can be tremendously disruptive to a family.  Let us help to make sure that you receive the child support due to you. 

If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support as ordered by either Family Court or New York State Supreme Court, we can make a formal application to either Family Court or New York State Supreme Court to find that party in violation of the order.  If either Court determines that the party has violated an order of support, the Court may, in its discretion, change the order and/or impose sanctions on the party in violation, such as issuing a court order or judgment for support be enforceable by means of garnishment, wage deduction, income execution, liens on property or contempt and child support arrears are not dischargeable in bankruptcy in New York.

If child support is being automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent's salary pursuant to a court order, once the child becomes emancipated, a new order must be obtained from the court terminating the child support payments.