When it comes to child support, the rules can vary greatly depending on which state you live in. New York has its own set of guidelines and formulas that determine how much a parent is required to contribute to their child's financial well-being. It's essential to know these requirements to ensure that both parents are meeting their financial obligations and that the child's needs are being met.
In addition, understanding New York's child support laws can help you prepare for any court proceedings that may arise in the future. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can ensure that your child is getting the support they need to thrive.
When Does Child Support End?
In New York, child support payments are a crucial aspect of ensuring that children receive the financial support they need and deserve. Child support is meant to cover food, clothing, shelter, and any other basic expenses. However, it does not include medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.
Parents are typically required to make these payments until their child turns 21 years old. However, there are instances where support payments can be terminated if a child becomes emancipated. Emancipation occurs when a child is self-supporting and no longer lives with their parents.
Children are considered emancipated when:
- They are married.
- They become economically independent of their parents through employment.
- They enter the military.
- They leave their parents’ home and sever the relationship.
Can Child Support Be Extended Past 21?
Child support payments may be extended if the child has a developmental disability. In this case, payments may be required to continue until the child is 26 years old.
A developmental disability is defined in Mental Health Law §1.03 (22) as:
- “Is attributable to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment, familial dysautonomia, Prader-Willi syndrome or autism.”
- Has originated before the child reached 22 years old.
- The disability has continued or is expected to continue indefinitely.
- The disability “constitutes a substantial handicap to the child’s ability to function normally in society.”
How Is Child Support Calculated?
In most cases, the court will order the non-custodial parent to fulfill basic child support payments to the custodial parent. This is calculated based on the combined income of both parents, minus certain deductions, and multiplied by a specific percentage—which varies depending on the number of children to be supported. From there, the child support obligation is divided among the parents based on their incomes.
Percentages depending on the number of children are as follows:
- One child: 17% of the combined parental income.
- Two children: 25% of the combined parental income.
- Three children: 29% of the combined parental income for three children.
- Four children: 31% of the combined parental income for four children.
- Five or more children: No less than 35% of the combined parental income.
However, if the combined income of the parents exceeds $154,000, a separate calculation is required, and the court must decide whether to apply the guideline percentages to the excess income or determine a different percentage.
Income does not just mean wages or a salary from a job, it can also include the following:
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Workers’ compensation awards
- Disability benefits
- Social security benefits
- Veteran’s benefits
- Annuity payments
- Retirement benefits
Making sure that all parties involved receive fair and adequate support is crucial, and understanding the child support calculation process is essential to ensuring that happens.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay Child Support?
Not paying child support payments can lead to serious consequences. Not only can it harm your child's wellbeing, but it can also result in legal action against you. Even if you forgot to pay or could not afford it, you could still suffer penalties that could include:
- Temporary child support payment increases
- Driver’s license suspension
- Passport denial
- Financial asset seizure
It's crucial to stay on top of your payments, so you can avoid these serious repercussions and ensure that your child has the support they need to thrive. If you cannot afford to pay child support, it is critical that you file a petition for modification with the court to avoid these penalties.
Work with Our Child Support Lawyers
Navigating the complexities of child support calculations and modifications can be a daunting and overwhelming task. That's why working with a skilled child support lawyer can be the difference between meeting your financial obligations and struggling to make ends meet.
At Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, our team is dedicated to providing compassionate, professional, and experienced representation to help our clients successfully navigate this process.
Contact us today at (845) 605-4330 or online to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you.