Child Support Orders, Modifications and Violations
Our White Plains firm represents parents who are paying or receiving child support
Though both parents have a legal responsibility to meet the needs of their children, child support is generally paid to the spouse with primary residential custody. New York uses a formula based on the parents’ incomes and other factors when setting an initial rate, but questions about fluctuating income, off-the-books income and the accuracy of other information can make this process difficult. Factoring in the reality of the parents’ historical financial habits, we help our clients address issues of cash flow, budgeting, mortgages and credit card debt. After the terms of support are established, problems can arise relating to the enforcement or modification of the order. Braunstein & Zuckerman assists custodial and noncustodial parents petition for child support orders that are appropriate given the specific circumstances.
We analyze the factors for child support
Following a divorce or the breakup of parents who were not married, many questions about child support might arise. Our knowledgeable attorneys can explain what you need to know about:
- Guidelines — New York courts examine both parents’ income along with factors such as health insurance premiums and child care costs when setting a child support order. Each parent’s obligation depends on their share of the total income, which might be adjusted to reflect a spousal maintenance payment. The Guidelines provide a formula to apply up to the parents’ combined income up to a specified maximum amount, referred to as the statutory cap. The law affords the Court discretion of applying the formula to income exceeding the cap. Our firm uses the information you provide to estimate how child support might be calculated under the formula and advises on options if the parents’ combined income exceeds the cap.
- Mediation of child support issues — Many families have special circumstances that might not be reflected within the child support calculation. Mediation can be an effective method to achieve consensus on issues such as college tuition, special physical needs or expensive extracurricular activities, and avoid the cost and uncertainties of litigation.
- Termination — In New York, a parent typically must pay support until each of their children turns 21 years old. This obligation to pay child support can be terminated sooner under certain circumstances. For parents with more that one child, child support will be adjusted downward as each child ages out or becomes emancipated.
Our firm is familiar with the pertinent law and the tactics that some people use when trying to gain an unfair advantage in child custody and support matters. Whatever your situation involves, we have the skill and determination to present your position effectively.
Modification requests can be made for an increase or decrease in child support
Personal and financial circumstances change over time and a child support order that was fair when it was issued might be problematic after a job loss or medical crisis. In New York child support orders can be modified three years after they go into effect or when one parent’s income increases or decrease by 15 percent. Additionally, a substantial change in circumstances may also give rise to reconsidering the child support. If you believe a modification is warranted or if you oppose your co-parent’s modification request, we can represent you during mediation or a court proceeding to resolve the issue. If you are the parent seeking a change in child support, time may be of essence for filing your petition, as the resulting child support order will take effect retroactively but only to the date of filing the modification petition.
Advocates handle child support enforcement proceedings
Overdue child support can be secured through income execution (garnishment) as well as the diversion of unemployment benefits, tax refunds and lottery winnings. The Division of Child Support Enforcement can also punish a parent who is not paying by filing a credit bureau report, suspending their driver’s license and blocking them from receiving or renewing a passport. Whether you’re looking to collect overdue child support or are being accused of nonpayment, our firm can help.