In most cases, child support is fairly straightforward. It’s governed by New York’s Child Support Standards Act and is set according to a predetermined formula. Parents are required to support their children, both with money and with health insurance coverage.
Every case involving minor children must include a child support amount, and every child sport amount set must go no lower than the amounts pre-determined by the chart. This does not mean that child support is always easy, or simple.
The formula works best when one or both parents are payroll employees who each earn a regular, standard income. It can get a little more complicated when parents are business owners or farm owners, or are freelancers or salespeople who earn variable income. It can also get more complicated when one or both parents work overtime, or have second jobs.
Imputed income such as company benefits may also need to be taken into account to achieve a fair child support amount. For example, if one parent gets the use of a company car and annual education assistance then their income is functionally higher than the income that is recorded on their pay stubs, and this needs to be taken into account.
The formula also works best when children have standard needs. When a child has special needs it may become necessary to negotiate a higher child support payment in order to truly support the child. Higher child support payments may also be justified when the child has been attending private school and one or both parents want the private school education to continue.
In cases where the combined adjusted gross income of the parents exceeds $154,000 any amounts over the cap may be set based solely on the needs of the child, and disparities of incomes between parents may be taken into account. Child support gets a lot more complex in high net worth divorce cases.
In addition, in cases where parents share joint physical custody the amount of parenting time between each parent can have an impact on the child support amount, and must be taken into account.
Circumstances also change. Parents change jobs and incomes. Medical emergencies arise. When this happens, it is possible to seek a modification of a child support award in family court. Child support may only be increased or decreased when there has been a significant change in circumstances.
We have represented both litigants who are fighting for an appropriate child support award and non-custodial parents who seek a fair determination for the amount of support to be paid.
The courts may consider any factor which is considered relevant, fair, and in the best interests of the child. In high net worth divorces in particular there can be a great many factors to pay attention to. Ultimately they should all be taken into account during any settlement, mediation, or litigation process.
Our team has decades of experience handling child support cases. Let us help you protect your interests. Call (516) 679-4300 today.