If you decide to end your marriage, you will have to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse on the terms that will apply to the termination of the marriage, such as custody, support, and property division. Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues couples face, as their valuable parenting time is on the line. However, once custody arrangements have been determined, child support can cause disagreements between parents as they often do not agree on an equitable amount to provide for the child’s basic needs. While many parents believe that if their income is less than that of the custodial parent, they will not be obligated to pay child support, that is not always the case. Please continue reading to learn how child support is determined and how an experienced Suffolk County Child Support Attorney can help you today.
What is the New York State Child Support Standards Act?
The court considers various factors in New York when determining a child support order. Firstly, to make the most equitable decision, the court follows the calculations of the New York State Child Support Standards Act as a basis for the standard the child has become accustomed to during their parent’s marital relationship. This formula combines the parent’s income percentages and allocates the support between parties in proportion to each income. Generally, the greater the number of children, the greater the percentage. However, the court also considers other factors besides the NYS Child Support Standards Act.
Moreover, the court will consider the decision on child custody. Essentially, whichever parent has been granted physical custody of their child will inherently spend more money on the child’s care. As such, the non-custodial parent will likely be obligated to pay more child support to offset the cost of the child custody arrangement.
Do I still have to pay if my ex-spouse makes more money?
Regardless of whether a custodial parent makes significantly more money than a non-custodial parent, the lower-earning parent is still legally obligated to provide financial support for their child’s basic needs. This includes food, shelter, healthcare, education, transportation, and other expenses contributing to a child’s well-being. The court’s primary focus while determining child support orders is to ensure the child’s best interests. They acknowledge that each parent is financially responsible for their child and should support them until emancipation. In New York, parents must support their children until age 21. Therefore, the court finds it in a child’s best interests to benefit from the same standard of living they would have if their parents were still married. If the custodial parent makes more money, that does not absolve a non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support.
If your ex-spouse is not fulfilling their child support obligation after your divorce, contact a trusted Suffolk County child support attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who will work tirelessly to help you through these challenging times.