Child support payments are based on the non-custodial parent’s income and on the number of children the parent must support. New York releases a child support standards chart by which a non-custodial parent can estimate the amount of money he or she may be required to pay in child support. For example, a parent who makes less than $15,000 each year would be expected to pay approximately $300 in child support annually. As a parent’s income increases, the child support amount he or she would be required to pay increases. As the number of children he or she needs to support increases, the child support amounts also increase. For example, at the median income for New York, which is $64,894, the amount of approximate child support payments a parent would be required to pay would be approximately $11,016 each year for one child, and 16,200 for two children. The expectation of the courts is that both parents will support their children financially, with the non-custodial parent being required to pay child support. However, it is important to note that these figures are only estimates, and each parent’s individual obligation will depend on many factors.
However, sometimes parents, in an attempt to evade higher child support payments, may quit a job, take fewer shifts, or otherwise not work in a manner that reflects their potential earning capacity. In this case, the courts may base child support amounts on “imputed income,” which is an estimate of the parent’s estimated earning capacity based on their field, their education, and their work history, or income history, rather than estimate of child support based on their current income. In order for courts to arrive at an imputed income, the courts must determine that the non-custodial parent is voluntarily unemployed or has taken a voluntary reduction in income to evade child support payments. However, a non-custodial parent may be able to dispute these claims by the court by showing that either he or she experienced an involuntary loss of employment, an involuntary reduction in work hours, suffered a disability, or is otherwise unable to work for legitimate reasons.
Claiming voluntary impoverishment of a former spouse in order to seek higher child support payments can sometimes be a complex process. For example, a parent may have a lower-income job that allows him or her to be available to care for the child after school or may take a job that allows him or her to play a more active role in the child’s life. In other cases, voluntary impoverishment is an attempt on a parent’s part to reduce his or her child support payments, and in this case, having a divorce lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York may be able to assist you in fighting to ensure your children receive the support they deserve.
What are Some Factors the Courts May Consider in Imputed Income in New York?
If the courts do need to impute income to a parent who is determined to be voluntarily not working to avoid paying child support payments, the courts may look at a number of factors when determining what payments the parent may be required to make. Factors can include the parent’s ability level, health, education, work history, work training, the parent’s attempts to find work, the parent’s role in caring for the child, and any other relevant factors. If you are being accused of voluntary impoverishment, and feel this accusation does not reflect your situation, you may be required to show the courts why your earnings might be lower than expected. For example, were you ill, disabled, or otherwise unable to work? Did you lose your job because of a lay off or other legitimate change in the industry in which you work? Was your income reduced for legitimate reasons? If so, you may be able to fight your case in court.
If you are a parent seeking child support, and believe your ex is avoiding child support payments by avoiding work or by being underemployed, you may have options under the law. Furthermore, if you are a parent who has been asked to pay child support and are facing accusations of voluntary impoverishment, you may have the right to fight your case in court by showing that you were laid off or lost your job legitimately, or by showing that your industry has changed. The Elliot Green Law Offices is a Brooklyn, New York divorce law firm that may be able to help you. Our attorneys can review your divorce case, review your income, and estimate the amount of child support you may be required to pay or receive under the law. Our lawyer can also address situations involving child support that may be more complex, like child support modifications, and situations where a parent might be intentionally avoiding work to avoid paying child support. Reach out to the Elliot Green Law Offices today or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with a divorce lawyer at our firm.