Establishing Child Support in Long Island
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Child support is payment from one parent to another to cover the basic day-to-day needs of their child, such as shelter, food, clothing, educational costs, medical costs, and more. All too often, parents feel that child support is a form of punishment, but this could not be further from the truth. Child support is about taking your child's best interests into consideration and making sure he or she is provided for each day. Child support ensures that your child receives the things they need to be happy, healthy, and secure.
Generally, child support payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent with custody and are determined as a percentage of their adjusted gross income. These payments must be made until the child reaches 21 years of age.
How is Child Support Determined?
When one parent receives sole custody of his/her child, the parent is entitled to child support payments from the non-custodial parent. Child support is awarded by the divorce court or family court based on each parent's ability to contribute financially to the child's expenses.
Generally, child support in New York is based on a percentage of income, after certain adjustments (such as Social Security, Medicare, NYC tax, and amounts paid pursuant to other support orders). These percentages are 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children and at least 35% for five children or more.
The court may sometimes make further adjustments to the support amounts based on certain factors. These factors include any substantial differences between the income of the parties, financial resources available to each party, unusual expenses for visitation travel, or (under certain circumstances) other children being supported, without court order, by the non-custodial parent in the support action.
The non-custodial parent must then make regular payments to fulfill their parental obligations. If the child's daily expenses increase, the child support award may be re-evaluated by the court, and is subject to change. Likewise, if the non-custodial parent finds that they are not able to pay the ordered amount due to changes in income or other hardship, they may petition for a modification and will be required to explain their circumstances to the court.
Provisions Made in Separation Agreements
If both parents have already worked out a plan for a child support in a legal separation agreement that differs from the contribution amounts listed above, this may be used in lieu of the guidelines decided by the state. This is providing that they have been advised of their rights under the law and that they are knowingly waiving them. This arrangement must be validated before a court.
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