When you work with my firm, you can be confident that your case is in good hands. I have been serving the Bronx area since 1989, and I am proud to have an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the various New York and federal laws governing family law matters and divorce. If you are considering filing a petition for a family law concern, do not hesitate to retain me as your child support lawyer in the Bronx, NY.
Child Support Lawyers Bronx, NY
Obtaining & Enforcing Court Orders in New York
Child support payments help ease the financial burden of successfully raising a family. Even though child support comes up in almost every divorce case, the payments themselves vary greatly. Family law judges take many factors into consideration when it comes down to determining the overall cost and payment schedule.
Every case is unique. It is absolutely essential that you work with a child support lawyer in the Bronx, NY to give yourself a strong chance in court. The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend will work tirelessly to get you and your family the best possible outcome. My child support law firm can obtain and enforce court orders!
What Is Child Support?
Child support is a type of financial support that noncustodial parents pay to custodial parents.
The custodial parent is the one who has sole custody or more than 50% custody of their children. If parents have joint custody, or shared custody, then the parent with the higher salary would be the one to pay child support.
A previous marriage/divorce is not a requirement. Under state law, “any parent, guardian, caretaker of a child, or child who needs support can apply for child support services.”
Could My Child Benefit from Child Support Payments?
Like anything else, child support has its pros and cons. Let’s dive into them here.
Advantages of Child Support
The pros of child support are hard to overlook, as they greatly benefit the child’s life. A couple of examples include:
- Financial safety net: The point of child support is to make sure your kid has the financial means to afford basic needs, from food to housing and everything in between. Your kid deserves to have everything they need. As a custodial parent, you already shoulder all the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting; you deserve help with the financial side of it.
- Better quality of life: Simply having a financial safety net boosts your child’s quality of life. Having to worry about finances is a surefire way to put your kid in a world of stress, which is likely to follow them into adulthood. What’s more, child support may include financial help for things beyond basic needs, such as education and extracurricular activities.
Disadvantages of Child Support
The cons of child support tend to be short term:
- Bitterness between parents: Some noncustodial parents take issue with having to pay child support, despite it being their legal and moral obligation to their child.
- Having to go to court: If the noncustodial parent puts up a fight, you may have to take them to court to get child support. If this happens, you will need to pay legal fees. Still, this cost pays off in the long run—you are essentially paying upfront to make sure your child will have the funds they need moving forward.
When Can Child Support Be Used for in New York?
Basic Cost-of-Living Expenses
According to New York child support laws, basic payments can be used to afford:
- Other basic needs
Medical expenses are not included in the basic child support obligation. Any uncovered medical care, such as insurance co-payments, may qualify as “mandatory add-on expenses.”
Mandatory Add-On Expenses: Health and Child Care
Other mandatory add-on expenses that may be covered by child support include:
- Health insurance coverage
- Reasonable medical care
- Child care expenses, such as if both parents work
Add-on expenses are proportionately split between both parents. To make sure add-on expenses are split fairly in your case, talk to a child support attorney in the Bronx.
Education, Extracurriculars, and Other Expenses
Custodial parents can also use child support to pay for the following expenses, which must be approved by the court since they are not mandatory add-ons:
- School tuition and fees
- Extracurricular activities
- Religious education
- Summer camp
Note that the noncustodial parent pays child support to the Support Collection Unit (SCU), which then pays the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent will not pay you directly.
New York Child Support Guidelines
When calculating child support, the court system will look at the following:
- Each parent's income
- The health and well-being of the child
- The health insurance that each parent may have
- Who has been granted custody of the children
Employment status, eligibility for employment, and cost of living may also be taken into consideration. In addition to the parent's income and stability, a judge will look at the cost of raising the family—educational needs, medical care, and exceptional situations will be evaluated.
Can Child Support Be Modified?
Yes, child support orders can be changed. It is important to note that payments may be increased or decreased in a modification of an existing court order.
Why Would Child Support Be Increased or Decreased?
There are many reasons why child support payments may be changed, such as:
- Changes in income, from pay raises to pay cuts
- Decrease in income
- New expenses for the child
- Cost-of-living adjustments
Any modifications can be negotiated by the parents, but it must still be documented and signed by the court.
What Age Do You Stop Paying Child Support in NY?
State laws mandate that a parent is obligated to continue paying child support until their child is 21 years old. In some circumstances, a parent’s obligation may end sooner.
Termination of Child Support
Child support may be terminated because of certain events, such as:
- The noncustodial parent becomes the custodial parent, meaning they are granted custody of the child
- The child becomes emancipated, such as by getting married, joining the military, or becoming financially independent
- The child leaves the parent’s home and isn’t obeying reasonable rules, as long as they are between 17 and 21 years old
- The noncustodial and custodial parents move in together and form a single household, be it for tax reasons or romantic reasons, etc.
Personalized Representation from Our Child Support Lawyer in the Bronx
When it comes to determining the overall payment schedule and cost of payments, no two cases are ever the same. Each family dynamic is unique, and each case will be personalized to help ensure that the children's best interests are protected.
Whether your divorce is being finalized through mediation or litigation—or if you need to modify an existing child support order in a divorce decree—you need to work with The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend. Our Bronx child support attorney believes that each family deserves a tailored case strategy. That’s why I will develop a customized plan of action to help you achieve your goals.
It is never too late to retain the services of a qualified Bronx child support attorney. But the sooner you do, the more time my firm will have to work toward the best outcome for you!