Articles Posted in Child Support

The New York courts place great importance on a parent’s duty to financially support their child. As such, if the courts determine that a party neglected to uphold their support obligation, they may choose to impose sanctions on the party. Not all failures to pay child support are sanctionable, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a matter arising out of a dispute over a father’s financial obligations to his children. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable New York child support lawyer to assess your rights.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the mother and father shared custody of their three children, and the father had an obligation to pay the mother child support. The father neglected to pay support for an unspecified period of time, and the mother filed a motion for enforcement and for sanctions. The support magistrate determined, among other things, that the father’s failure to pay child support was not willful. He also declined to grant the mother’s request that the court order the father to pay half of one of the children’s private school tuition. The mother appealed.

The Court’s Findings

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. First, the court found that the support magistrate’s finding that the father’s failure to pay child support was not willful was entitled to great deference, as it rested largely on the magistrate’s credibility determinations. Specifically, the magistrate found that the father credibly testified that he was unable to seek regular employment due to his parenting responsibilities. Continue reading

When couples with children divorce, one parent will often bear the burden of paying the other child support. Child support obligations that are instituted when children are young may need to be revisited over time, as changing circumstances may render them inappropriate. Not all changes warrant modifications to support orders, though, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a New York child custody case. If you have questions about your rights and obligations with respect to child support, it is in your best interest to consult a New York child support lawyer to discuss your case.

The History of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and the father were married and had three children together. They divorced in 2017 and entered into a stipulation regarding child support. Pursuant to the stipulation, the father agreed to pay the mother $3,250 in child support each month until December 1, 2020, when his support obligation increased to $4,157. The court incorporated the stipulation into the divorce judgment.

It is alleged that in 2020, the father filed a petition asking the court to make a downward modification of his child support obligation. He argued that a substantial change in circumstances warranted the obligation; namely, his oldest child turned 21 and was emancipated. The mother moved to dismiss the petition. The trial court granted the mother’s motion, and the father appealed. Continue reading

Raising a child is expensive, and few people can afford the cost alone. Thus, in many instances in which parents share child custody, the courts will order one parent to pay child support to the other. Numerous elements are taken into consideration in determining an appropriate monthly support obligation. Recently, a New York court explained how the time each parent actually spends with a child factors into child support decisions in a case in which the father appealed the trial court’s ruling. If you are involved in a dispute over child support, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable New York family law lawyer about your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father, who had three children, divorced. The father was granted legal custody of the children, and the mother was granted residential custody. The parties entered into a stipulation granting the father parental access with the oldest child at least every other weekend. Regarding the younger two children, he had access Fridays afternoon until after their recreational activities, every other weekend, and every Monday evening until Wednesday morning. The stipulation regarding custody contained a clause, however, that stated that, given the children’s ages, if they did not wish to spend the full amount of time dictated by the stipulation with the father, their wishes should be respected.

Allegedly, the court held a trial to determine economic issues, during which it was noted that only the middle child adhered to the parenting schedule, while the other two children spent no time with the father. The court determined that the mother was entitled to child support, and using the Child Support Standards Act, found that the father was responsible for about 37% of the basic support obligation, subject to a downward deviation. Thus, it ordered the defendant to pay $175 per week in support plus the cost of the children’s extracurricular activities and 37% of the cost of health care. The defendant appealed. Continue reading

Many married couples have children, and if they eventually decide to divorce, the dissolution of their relationship will undoubtedly impact their children in some ways. While parents typically want what is best for their children and act accordingly, in some cases, the court will find it necessary to appoint an attorney to advocate for the interests of a child. An attorney for children’s role is limited to matters that directly impact the young parties they represent, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling. If you have children and intend to seek a divorce, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable New York family law attorney to determine your rights.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the parties were married in July 2003, after which they had three children. Prior to getting married, they entered into a prenuptial agreement which stated that neither party would be entitled to equitable distribution, maintenance, or attorney’s fees in the event of a divorce. The couple ultimately decided to part ways and filed for divorce. The wife then filed a motion asking, in part, that the court set aside the prenuptial agreement. The court issued an order denying the wife’s motion. The attorney for the children then moved to vacate the order pertaining to the prenuptial agreement on the grounds that he should have been permitted to participate in a hearing on the matter to protect the interests of the children. The court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Children’s Rights in Divorce Actions

On appeal, the court held that contrary to the assertion of the attorney for the children, he did not have the standing to file a motion to vacate the trial court’s order. The court explained that while children have some rights with respect to matters such as custody, visitation, and child support in matrimonial actions, they do not have a general right to participate in the litigation of financial matters relating to maintenance or equitable distribution in their parents’ divorces. Continue reading

While child support is meant to provide financial means to care for a child whose parents do not live together, it nonetheless must be fair and reasonable. As such, if the party that is paying or receiving support experiences an event or life change that affects his or her finances, it may be grounds for the modification of a support award. In a recent child support case in New York, the court discussed when a modification of a child support obligation is warranted and what the party seeking the modification must prove. If you or your co-parent are obligated to pay child support, and either of you experienced a change in circumstances, you should speak to an experienced New York child support attorney to assess your rights.

Factual History

It is reported that the mother and father married in 2002 and had a child in 2003. They entered into a separation agreement in 2014 that, in part, imposed a child support obligation on the father. The agreement was modified in 2015, and both the agreement and the addendum were incorporated into the judgment of divorce the court issued later that year.

Allegedly, in 2017, three separate actions related to child support were filed by the parties. Specifically, the father filed a request for a downward modification of his support obligation, the mother filed a pleading regarding the father’s failure to comply with his support obligation, and a second pleading asking the court to hold him in willful contempt for failing to pay. On each of the pleadings, the court found in favor of the mother. The father then appealed, arguing the court erred in denying his request for a downward modification.

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Typically, when a child support order is entered, it aims to meet the child’s needs at that time. As circumstances change, however, it may become necessary to modify a parent’s financial obligation. The court can only consider certain factors in determining what constitutes an appropriate increase in support, though, as demonstrated by a recent New York case. If you are subject to a child support order and you or your co-parent wish to seek a modification, it is critical to meet with a trusted New York child support attorney to assess what evidence the court may weigh in making a determination.

Factual History

It is reported that the mother and the father married in 2001 and had two children. They decided to divorce and, in 2009, entered into a stipulation that was incorporated into their divorce judgment. Pursuant to the stipulation, the mother had residential custody of the children, and the father agreed to pay approximately $800 per month in child support. The stipulation also stated that the parties would confer and agree on extra-curricular activity costs.

Allegedly, in 2015 the father consented to a $1,000 monthly increase to his support obligation. In 2018, the mother sought a second increase, arguing that it was warranted because of increased costs due to the children’s participation in extracurricular activities. The court granted the mother’s petition, ordering the father to pay approximately $650 per week. The father appealed.

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It is not uncommon for parents who share custody of a child to have disparate incomes. Thus, in many instances, one parent will be required to pay child support to his or her co-parent. In general terms, New York courts calculate child support obligations based on the income of both parents. As discussed in a recent New York family law case, however, income is not solely defined as income earned through employment but can include income from other sources as well, such as money from a significant other. If you or your child’s co-parent wish to seek child support, it is advisable to speak to an experienced New York child support attorney to discuss what you can do to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the mother and father were married in 2003 and had two children during their marriage. In 2013, the father filed for divorce. The parties came to an agreement with regards to custody but agreed to allow the court to determine property division and financial matters. The court subsequently awarded the mother $1,770 in monthly child support, based on the mother’s imputed annual income of $25,000 and the father’s imputed annual income of $75,000, after which both parents appealed.

Imputed Income in Child Support Cases

Under New York law, a court has broad discretion with regards to imputing income when calculating an appropriate amount of child support and is not limited to what the parties represent with regards to their finances. Specifically, a court may impute income based on a parent’s future earning capacity, employment history, educational background, and money received from friends and family. In imputing income to a parent, however, a court must provide a record that clearly indicates the source of the imputed income, the reasons for imputing income to the parent, and the calculations that resulted from the imputed income.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant financial losses for many people. Thus, many parents who owe child support are late on making payments, and consequently, many parents who rely on child support are not receiving the payments they are owed. As many of the courts throughout the State are closed for new filings except for emergencies, parents seeking enforcement of child support orders and agreements are uncertain of their options.  Fortunately, despite the pandemic, there are measures parents who are owed support can take to seek any payments that are in arrears. If you are a resident of New York and have concerns regarding late child support payments, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced New York child support attorney regarding your rights.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Parents who are owed child support should continue to receive payments during the pandemic, as all payments received are still being processed. Thus, any payments made should be disbursed as usual. If a noncustodial parent can no longer afford to make payments due to a loss of income, he or she can seek a modification. Absent a modification, however, a parent obligated to pay child support pursuant to a court order must pay the full amount owed, on the date, it is owed, despite the pandemic.

Parents who fail to make timely payments in full may be subject to enforcement actions, such as the suspension of driver’s or professional licenses, interception of State and federal tax refunds, freezing of financial assets, and liens against real and personal property. Parents who fail to make child support payments may also be reported to credit bureaus. These actions are referred to as administrative penalties and are available without going to court. The action available in an individual case depends on the amount overdue and the length of the delay in making payments. Currently, the Child Support Offices in many areas throughout the State are closed, as are New York Family Courts for child support matters. Thus, parents who are owed support should seek assistance by contacting their local child support office or the State offices via telephone or email. Parents who are obligated to pay but cannot pay due to a loss of employment, also have options.

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Rudyuk Law Fim will continue to update you on new developments and information in light of COVID-19 pandemic which affects divorce litigation and family law procedures in NYC.

Last evening, New York State Unified Court System Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued an administrative order outlining additional steps the court system is taking to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“Effective immediately, the prosecution of any pending civil matters including any discovery that would require in-person appearances or travel is strongly discouraged.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE FROM MY FIRM:

As we all fight the unprecedented pandemic caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), my firm remains readily available to our divorce and family law clients and new clients. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your divorce action, co-parenting during difficult times, child support, family offense or if you need updates or require assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can email me at  ksenia@cadicny.com or Diana at assistant@cadicny.com. Also, do not hesitate to call at 212-706-2001 and reach us through Skype: Rudyuk Law Firm.

We are closely monitoring the situation and following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, regulators and local public health departments, the New York State Governor, the New York City Mayor.

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