New York Court Explains How Child Custody Factors Into Child Support Obligations

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.

How Child Custody Factors Into Child Support Determinations

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that the trial court properly ruled that the mother was the custodial parent for the purposes of determining child support. With regards to the Child Support Standards Act, a custodial parent is a parent who has physical custody of a child most of the time. Further, the court can evaluate which parent is the custodial parent based on the reality of the circumstances. In the subject case, as there was undisputed testimony that two of the children were not following the parental access schedule, the reality of the situation, despite the permitted parental access as set forth in the stipulation, was that the plaintiff was the custodial parent for child support purposes. Thus, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced New York Family Law Attorney

When courts award parties child support, it is with the intention of providing for a child’s reasonable needs, but they do not always rule properly, and sometimes adjustments must be made to support orders. If you or your co-parent intend to seek child support, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Ksenia Rudyuk is a trusted New York family law attorney with the skills and resources needed to obtain just results, and if you hire her, she will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Ms. Rudyuk via the form online or at 212-706-2001 to set up a meeting.

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