New York Court Imposes Child Support Obligations Absent Evidence of Income

Discovery is an essential part of family law cases, as it allows the courts to evaluate parties’ rights and obligations with regard to child support, spousal support, property division, and other matters. If a party fails to engage in a discovery process, therefore, it can be prejudicial to their opponent and may be grounds for the court to sanction them, as demonstrated in a recent New York child support case. If you share custody of a child, it is important to understand your parental rights and duties, and it would benefit you to speak to a New York child support lawyer.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife married in 2001. They had two children during the marriage before the wife filed for divorce in 2013. She subsequently moved to compel the defendant to comply with specific discovery requests, and if he did not, requested that the court bar him from offering evidence at trial regarding financial matters. The court granted the motion, stating that if the defendant declined to comply with the discovery order, the court would evaluate child support based on the needs of the children instead of the factors and formulas defined in the Child Support Standards Act.

Allegedly, the husband appealed the order, but it was affirmed. He then failed to comply with the order and as such, was precluded from presenting evidence regarding his finances at trial. The court then directed him to pay approximately $5,600 per month in child support. The husband appealed.

Factors Considering in Determining Child Support Obligations

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it explained that when a party defaults or the court otherwise lacks sufficient evidence to assess a party’s gross income, the court must order child support based on the child’s standard of living or needs, whichever is greater. In the subject case, the trial court calculated the husband’s monthly child support obligation based on the children’s needs without imputing income to the defendant, as it was authorized to do under the applicable law.

As such, the requirement that a court must state the amount of income imputed to a party obligated to pay child support and the resulting calculations did not apply. Further, contrary to the husband’s assertions, the court did not abuse its discretion in failing to impute income to the mother due to money she borrowed from family members. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to an Experienced New York Family Law Attorney

All parents have a duty to provide for their children financially, and the courts can impose child support obligations on parents regardless of whether the parents provide information regarding their income. If you want to learn more about whether you or your co-parent may be entitled to child support, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer. Ksenia Rudyuk is an experienced New York family law attorney who is proficient at obtaining favorable outcomes in child support cases, and if you engage her services, she will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Ms. Rudyuk through the form online or at 212-706-2001 to set up a meeting.

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