Child Support Responsibilities and Modifications
Divorce is the legal process that is supposed to act as the final severance between two people. Some ties are too strong, even in the legal system, and a number of divorcees still end up working with each other on several issues. Perhaps the most compelling issue is the matter of child support, as both parents still share natural rights over a child even after divorce.
Determining the amount
The non-custodial parent (the parent not living with the child) is obligated by the court to pay an amount for the benefit of the child. As discussed in Section 240, Article 13 of the Domestic Relations Law of New York, the amount to be paid for basic child support is based on the combined income of the parents and multiplied by the appropriate child support percentage.
The law states the following child support percentages:
- 17% of the combined parental income for one child;
- 25% of the combined parental income for two children;
- 29% of the combined parental income for three children;
- 31% of the combined parental income for four children; and
- No less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.
The court can also rule to change the amount of child support required from a non-custodial parent if in its view the amount is not appropriate or unfair. Examples would be if there is a great difference between the incomes of the parents, the non-custodial parent having other children to support, and other factors the court deems valid. It should also be noted that child support can be ordered from one-time income, such as prize earnings and inheritance.
Modifying child support
The non custodial parent has the right to modify his/her child support obligation if they can show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Please speak with Attorney Ian S. Mednick so that he can advise you of whether or not you will be able to meet this burden of proof. Child support can also be modified if the order was entered after October 14, 2010 based upon the occurrence of either 3 years passing from the initial order or an increase or decrease of 15% in one’s salary. Contact, Attorney, Ian S. Mednick, so that he can advise you of whether or not you will be able to utilize this new standard.
The court also takes into account that the value of money changes and child support that was once enough for education and other needs may no longer be sufficient. In this case, the custodial parent (the parent living with the child) can request from the support collection unit for a modification of the original child support arrangement based on a cost of living adjustment as provided in Section 240-c of the same law. The support collection unit determines the needed adjustments and notifies the parents of the new child support amount to be paid.