For many years, Courts in New York State have used child support guidelines (i.e. 17% of Adjusted Gross Income for 1 child) in most situations in order to fix an amount for child support. Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) is a legal term which starts with gross pay or income and includes deductions for social security and medicaid taxes, and New York City income taxes, but not for Federal or State income Tax.
Child support guidelines are not used where the non-custodial parent’s income is very low (below the Federal poverty level or the so-called “self-support reserve”). Where the combined adjusted gross income is above around $140,000.00 the guidelines may or may not be applied to amounts of AGI over $140,000.00 (Cassano Hearing.).
The courts may also deviate from the guideline amounts for child support orders in certain other situations either on consent of both parties or after a “deviation hearing”.
Despite the guidelines formula, child support cases can be very complex and are fraught with pitfalls for the pro se litigant (The term ‘pro se’ refers to acting as one’s own attorney or representing yourself in a civil or criminal matter.) or even for an attorney who is not familiar with the special law and procedures of child support cases. Cases where the non-custodial party either has his or her own business or has other children to support are more complex and both parties should have experienced legal representation to assure their rights are protected. Other recurrent and often-times problematic issues involve overtime pay, child care expenses, private school and college tuition, upward and downward modification, Cost of Living (“COLA’) cases, so-called “imputed income”, and child support enforcement.
Except for cut and dried cases, this is not an area where you should attempt to represent yourself. It is important for you to have a lawyer who is familiar with child support cases to represent you. If you have already lost your child support case, you are allowed to file objections, and can appeal if you lose those, but in both situations you must act right away.
Family law can be complicated when dealing with child support issues. I have extensive experience with the special laws and procedures of child support cases and will work for you to try to obtain a successful outcome.
Call me today at (347) 461-0760