NYC Child Support Attorney With Over 20 Years Experience
Are you looking for a New York City child support lawyer? Perhaps you and your former spouse both had attorneys for your divorce case, but you are now in family court on a request to modify the child support order. Do you need a family law attorney for that?
Did you have a child support agreement , but circumstances have changed and you can no longer afford the amount of your child support payments?
If you are a father or a grandparent with custody of a child or children, you may wonder if fathers and grandparetns can get child support?
If you are a father with a child support order and the mother is not paying, you may also wonder if the court ever puts mothers in jail for refusing to pay.
Do fathers still have to pay child support if they are being completely denied visitation?
I have appeared in all the NYC family courts, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island family court, on child support and child custody matters at one time or another. You can call me at (347) 461-076 to get a free consultation with an experienced NYC child support lawyer.
My fees are much more reasonable than fees charged by other NYC child support lawyers and I have many positive reviews on Google from former clients.
This web page and web site is intended to provide general information andis not a substitutre for legal advice, For legal advice you need to have an in person, zoom, or telephone consultation wtih a NYC child support attorney.
CSSA Support Payment Guidelines & Calculations
For many years New York State Courts have used child support guidelines in most situations in order to fix an amount for child support payments. In New York, the child guidelines are based upon income, not expenses.
Guideline orders under the Child Support Standards Act or “CSSA” for child support are actually based upon calculation of something called Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”), a legal term which starts with gross pay or income and includes deductions for social security, Medicare taxes, union dues, and New York City income taxes, but not for Federal or State Income Tax.
Gross income includes Social Security payments, pensions, and disability benefits, but usually is not based upon upon assets.
The Court will typically award the amount of child support based upon a percentage of adjusted gross income (17% of adjusted gross income for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, etc.) There can also be additional amounts added to cover child care or daycare expenses, if these are necessary for the custodial parent to hold down a job or obtain work related education, as well as unreimbursed medical expenses.
There is, however, the “Cassano Cap” which means that where combined adjusted gross income is above $154,000.00 the child support guidelines may or may not be applied to amounts of combined adjusted gross income which are over the “cap”.
There are numerous factors that the courts can take into consideration in a Cassano situation, perhaps the most important ones would be child support needs of the child or children and any disparity of income between the parents.
Also, when a New York court is asked to fix an amount of child support the fact that the non-custodial parent is supporting other children that live with him is usually not taken into account. There are a few exceptions , for example as to children with special needs, where the court may balance the resources available to all of the children.
The non-custodial parent can get credit for payments he makes for another child not living in his household if there is either a prior court order or a written agreement requiring him to make payments against the prior order and payments are actually being made.
Despite the guidelines formula, New York child support laws and cases can be very complex and are fraught with pitfalls for the pro se party or even for an attorney who is not familiar with the special law and procedures of child support cases.
On the other hand, family law attorneys with experience in child support issues will have a working knowledge of the law and will be able to come up with a strategy for your case. In order to have the best chance of a positive outcome, you should strongly consider hiring a NYC child support lawyer to represent you. My family law firm offers a free initial telephone or video consultation on all child support matters.
Complex Child Support Cases In New York City
Simple child support cases involve a non custodial parent who has steady, full time employment, on the books, and does not work overtime or have a second job.
Cases where the non custodial parent has his or her own business are more complex and both parties should have experienced child support attorneys who are familiar with all aspects of family law to assure that their rights are protected.
Other recurrent and often-times complex and problematic issues involve overtime pay, child care expenses, private school and college tuition, upward and downward modification cases (see discussion below), Cost of Living (“COLA’) cases, so-called “imputed income”, and child support enforcement.
Child support is an area where the law is both complex and changes frequently. Therefore, except for the few “cut and dried cases”, it is important for you to have an NYC child support lawyer who has years of experience handling these type of cases represent you to reduce the risk of unfair or even disastrous results. Call me at (347) 461-0760, I may be able to help.
NYC High Net Worth / High Income Support Cases
“High income” or “high net worth” child support cases are invariably much more complex, difficult, and hence more expensive than cases where the combined adjusted gross income of the parents is below the Cassano cap. There are several reasons for this.
Under New York Law the court has wide discretion about deciding whether or not the child support guidelines should be applied to income which is above the Cassano cap.
In deciding these issues the statute cites a number of relevant factors, and there is also a “catch-all” clause which allows the court to consider practically any other factor which is relevant and fair. The end result is that these cases are unpredictable as to result, hence hard to settle, and also cost a lot more money to try.
High net worth people tend to have much more complicated financial affairs, including pensions, charitable contributions, all kinds of investments, tax shelters, nannies, private schools, and the l. Their child support cases usually involve multiple boxes of documents. For these reasons legal costs will always be higher these kinds of cases.
New York Support Modification Cases And Support Agreements
The majority of child support cases that I get are modification requests where one or both parties seek to modify prior child support orders. For many years courts have applied different standards to child support modification cases depending on whether the prior order was reached by agreement or if it was entered after a contested trial.
In October of 2010, the Legislature passed a statute that significantly changed the legal standards for child support modifications. Depending on when the prior order was entered, Courts will apply either the “old law” or the “new law” when deciding whether or not to increase or decrease child support court orders.
The “new” statute changes the legal burden for a change in the order, but it also provides for the parties “opting out” of almost all of its new provisions, if the prior order was by agreement between the parties, and there is a valid “opt out” clause in the order.
Private School And College Expense Obligations
According to New York case law, a non-custodial parent (usually the father) is not automatically responsible to pay for the cost of either private school or college education. Instead, the court is supposed to first determine that there are “exceptional circumstances”, and even then the court has to find that the noncustodial parent can afford to pay for the private school or college.
Exceptional circumstances are most often found when one or both of the parents themselves went to private high school or went to college. Another important factor that the courts look at is the academic aptitudes or abilities of the child.
When the child or children go away for college it is possible that the non-custodial parent can get a credit against the basic child support obligation for the the cost of room and board at the college.
Interstate Child Support Cases And Obligations
Interstate cases are cases which involve parents who reside in different states. These cases sometimes raise the most difficult, complex, and novel legal issues of all child support cases.
For example, sometimes paternity and child support is resolved with an order in one state, and then the either of the parents moves to another state, and one of the parents files a child support modification petition.
There may be complex issues about which state has jurisdiction, and child support may go to 21, or even 23 under the law of one state, while child support ends at 18 under the law of the other state.
Enforcement cases and the Support Collection Unit
What happens if the non custodial parent stops paying child support?
If you are the non custodial parent can you terminate or at least get a suspension of the order?
If child support payments are being made through the Child Support Collection Unit, the Unit will know when payments stop. The Unit has the power to enforce the order by wage garnishment, attachment of bank accounts, and suspension of driver’s licenses, professional licenses, and passports, all without any court order.
If the child support collection unit is unable to locate any employer or bank account, the custodial parent will have to bring a child support action to enforce the child support order.
The Family Court has the power to give the petitioner a money judgement, and can also put the non paying parent on probation or even order jail time of up to six months, if it finds that the failure to pay was “willful”, which can be considered contempt of court. A finding of willful violation also entitles the custodial parent to an award of attorney fees.
A Few Words About Vacating Arrears
In New York, it is extremely difficult to vacate arrears unless you were never served with the child support order and never appeared in court, or some other very special situation exists.
If you have any questions about representation on a NYC Child Support case, do not hesitate to call me at (347) 461-0760
“Paul Matthews represented me in family court and did a magnificent job. He is a smart lawyer and with lots of courtroom experience. 5 stars!”Joseph, Verified Google Review