Child Support Lawyer in Brooklyn
Financial Support for the Child
Child support is set up specifically so that the costs of raising a child will be shared by both parents. There are very clear guidelines that dictate how much money will be involved.
I have a comprehensive understanding of the guidelines. I am able to quickly determine how much child support is involved in your case. If there is reason to deviate from the guidelines, I will spot it. I will take great care to see that the outcome is fair.
At the Law Office of Elliot Green, I use my experience as an attorney to help people move effectively and efficiently through the process necessary to address child support. My services are available to people in Brooklyn, Manhattan and throughout New York City.
You have the right to understand how child support works. I will take the time to educate you. As your case move forwards, you will know what is going on. I will work with you to achieve your goals.
New York Child Support Guidelines
Generally, the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent will be:
- One child: 17% of total income
- Two children: 25% of total income
- Three children: 29% of total income
- Four children: 31% of total income
- Five or more children: 35% of total income, or more
Special needs of the child and other factors can be taken into account that may alter the percentages involved.
The Issue of Hidden Income
Frequently, the issue of hidden income and hidden assets arises in child support cases. One parent accuses the other of not disclosing their full income. This tends to be an issue when one parent is self-employed.
I am a lawyer who understands how to get to the bottom of these issues. Using forensic accounting and discovery, I will carefully review the matter to see that the child support amount accurately reflects the income.
Child support, when ordered, usually is the result of the filing for divorce, separation, domestic abuse or paternity (to identify the father of a child born out of wedlock), or results from the filing for child support itself.
In a divorce or separation case, the court must order reasonable child support payments. In determining what is reasonable, the court must refer to a “Child Support Guidelines” which is used throughout the New York State. That chart is intended to be a guideline for hearing examiner in determining the amount of child support to be paid based upon the gross income of both parents and the number of children to be supported.
If the paying parent’s income is more than is shown on the chart, then the hearing examiner may disregard the chart and set child support based on a percentage of the paying parent’s gross pay, as follows:
- One Dependent: l7 percent
- Two Dependents: 25 percent
- Three Dependents: 29 percent
- Four Dependents: 31 percent
- Five Dependents: not less than 35 percent
When figuring gross pay, do not deduct amounts for retirement, charities, credit union accounts, debts or garnishments. Usually, the only deductions from gross income that are permitted are for federal and state income tax, Social Security (FICA) or railroad retirement, Medicare taxes, medical insurance paid for dependent children, and support for other dependents currently paid by court order.
When a paying parent receives Veteran’s Administration disability benefits, workers’ compensation disability benefits, or unemployment compensation, support is to be calculated based upon those benefits.
For military personnel, the latest military pay allocation chart and benefits are reviewed. BAQ (quarters allowance) is added to other income to reach total income, except where it is awarded to offset living expenses, which are higher than normal.
For a paying parent who is paid on commission, support should be calculated based on minimum draw plus additional commissions.
For self-employed paying parents, support should be calculated based on last year’s federal and state income tax returns and the quarterly estimates for the current year. Also, the hearing examiner is to consider the amount the paying parent is able to earn, or a net worth-approach based on property, lifestyle, etc.
It is important to remember two things about the child support chart. First, in most cases, the judge will set child support at the level set out in the chart. Secondly, if the evidence shows that the children require more or less support than what is called for by the chart, the court can do whatever is reasonable.
In addition to the chart, the court is supposed to consider the parties’ individual situations, including their regular living expenses, such as food, shelter, utilities, clothing, medical expenses, educational expenses, dental expenses, childcare, recreation, insurance and transportation. The court is also to consider the parties’ accustomed standard of living and what other income or assets might be available from any other source.
Other factors that might lead a judge to award child support at an amount somewhat different from the chart include whether either party has obtained insurance for a child’s benefit, or has provided or paid for necessary medical, dental, optical, psychological, or counseling expenses for a child (such as orthopedic shoes, glasses, braces, and so on), or has created a trust fund for a child, or has paid for special education needs or expenses of any child or for daycare for a child, or spends extraordinary time with a child or shares custody, or pays support for any other dependent child. The support order may include college and camp expenses.
It is also important to remember that while a case is in progress, the hearing examiner will often count a dependent spouse the same as two children, which can substantially increase child support payments temporarily.
Often, child support is reduced by as much as half for periods of summer visitation, especially if that visitation is for more than seven consecutive days.
In addition to the award of child support, the judge usually provides for the children’s healthcare needs, which normally would include health insurance, if available to either parent at a reasonable cost.
When a child reaches 18 and a parent owes unpaid child support up to that date, the 18-year-old can sue for back child support. The 18-year-old has until his or her 23rd birthday to do so.
All support orders are to provide that child support is paid by payroll deduction, unless the parties have a different written agreement or unless the court finds a good reason for not doing it that way.
Contact My Law Office for a Free 30 Minute Initial Consultation
For your convenience, I offer day, evening and weekend appointments. I promptly return phone calls and e-mails, even outside of normal business hours. I will be accessible to you from the start of your case to the finish. Contact me to schedule an appointment.