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Modifying Child Support

Long Island Child Support Attorney

In New York, child support is financial support that is paid to the custodial parent from the noncustodial parent. Child support consists of cash payments, health insurance, child care payments, and payments for uninsured medical costs. The family court official that makes decisions regarding how much the noncustodial parent will pay is referred to as a support magistrate.

If you are the mother or father of a child and your child does not live with you, you will be responsible for making child support payments to the other parent or the person who is taking care of your child, and this support obligation begins from the day the child was born and until the child turns 21.

Calculating Child Support

New York uses a standard guideline when calculating child support. Under New York law, you may also owe back child support from the time your child was born. In addition to the standard guidelines, you may also have to pay for child care, uninsured medical expenses, and educational expenses. If you have health insurance available through your employer, you will have to get coverage for your child providing it's reasonable in cost and available to your child.

The court will calculate how much you will have to pay based on your adjusted gross income and the number of children. First, the court will look at your gross income, and then it will make deductions for Medicare, Social Security, and New York City or Yonkers tax in order to determine your gross income. From there the court will multiply the adjusted gross income by the standard guideline percentage for the number of children being calculated.

Below are the percentages:

  • One child – 17%
  • Two children – 25%
  • Three children – 29%
  • Four children – 31%
  • Five or more children – at least 35%

Your share of child care, medical, and educational expenses will be added to the income percentage. The percentage of income plus share of expenses and the combined amount will be the basic child support amount. When the parents' combined income exceeds $136,000, the court may use the standard guideline (above), or they may consider other factors when determining the child support obligation.

People have to pay child support even when they are on unemployment, disability, workers' compensation, or Social Security. Once the court determines how much support you have to pay, if the remaining income is less than or equal to the federal poverty guidelines, then the court may issue an order for as little as $25. However, this amount should go up once the noncustodial parent's income increases.

Child Support Modifications

What if you can't pay your child support? For example, what if you lost your job and had to get a job earning much less than you were earning before? You should not wait, you should immediately file a petition for a child support modification with the court. You will file this petition for a modification with the same court that issued the original child support order.

Once the petition for modification is filed, the hearing date will be set; this is a very important time to hire a Long Island child support lawyer. At the hearing you will have the opportunity to present your information, and this would include any documentation that would prove that you are experiencing a significant change in circumstance that would warrant a modification to the current support order.

If the court decides to change your order, the change will be backdated to when you filed your petition. But, keep in mind that only the court can make a change and if you can't pay as much as you're supposed to, you need to keep paying as much as you possibly can. The worst thing to do is to stop paying altogether.

Warning, if you stop paying child support payments, the child support enforcement agency will take various steps to collect the money that you owe. If you don't pay, any of the following can occur: 1) a driver's license suspension, 2) taking your tax refund, 3) taking money from your bank accounts (even if they are joint), 4) notifying credit reporting agencies, 5) taking lottery winnings, and 6) jail sentencing.

If you need to file a petition for a child support modification, please don't hesitate to contact a Long Island divorce attorney from Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC for help!

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