Child Support Attorney
Whether you are a parent seeking child support or are facing the reality that you may be required to pay child support, you will benefit from the advice of an experienced child support lawyer.
According to New York’s Family Court Act and Domestic Relations Law, “the parents of a child under the age of twenty-one years are chargeable with the support of such child and, if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, shall be required to pay for child support a fair and reasonable sum as the court may determine.”
Types of Child Support Proceedings
- Establishment of Child Support (which may include a paternity proceeding)
- Modification of Child Support
- Enforcement / Violation of Orders of Support
Establishing Child Support
Child support is generally calculated based on the parental adjusted gross income of the parents. The courts use the parties’ tax returns as a starting point to determine the income of the parents but the courts are also given discretion to impute income to either party that was not reported on the taxes.
In addition to the basic child support obligation, the court will also calculate the parties’ obligations to pay for:
- Child care
- Unreimbursed health care costs
- Educational expenses
Termination or Modification of Child Support
Generally, a child support order can be modified upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances of a party such as a loss of a job or a change in custody. Once such a change has been proven, the court will then recalculate the order in the same manner that a new order is calculated.
Additionally, a support order can be modified or terminated when:
- The child is deemed to be emancipated
- The child has Abandoned / forfeited the right to support
- The child is of employable age and is self-supporting
- The child enlists in the military.
- The child has legally married.
- The child has reached 21 years old
- The parent has passed away
- The custodial parent has wrongfully interfered with visitation
In 2010, the New York State Legislature passed a law that permitted either party to seek a modification when:
- Three (3) years have passed since entry or modification of the support order; OR
- The income of either party has increased by 15% or more.
Violation / Enforcement of Orders of Support
New York law provides for a number of mechanisms to enforce child support and to punish violations of child support orders.
- Garnishment (also known as Income Execution Order / Income Deduction Order) – A process by which payments for current and/or overdue support are deducted from a noncustodial parent’s wages or other income by the noncustodial parent’s employer or income payor. Additionally, a noncustodial parent’s pension can be levied.
- Entry of Judgment – A money judgment will be awarded when a court finds that the noncustodial parent is in support arrears, regardless of whether the failure to pay support is willful or non-willful. A money judgment also acts as a lien against any interest in personal property or real property (such as a house) in the county in which it was filed.
- Interception of Financial Awards (Including Tax returns, Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Lottery Winnings) – Noncustodial parents who are receiving unemployment insurance from the New York State Department of Labor will have current and/or overdue child support payments automatically deducted from their Unemployment Insurance Benefits, state and federal tax returns and lottery winnings.
- Seizure of Property – Financial assets of the noncustodial parent, including bank accounts, may be seized in order to satisfy overdue child support.
- Sequestration – An enforcement mechanism by which the noncustodial parent’s property is held as security for payment of the support.
- Payment of Undertakings and Cash Deposits – The court can order that a noncustodial parent post a bond to ensure that future support payments are made.
- Suspension of Licenses – New York State licenses, including professional licenses, occupational licenses and driver’s licenses can be suspended if a noncustodial parent fails to make support payments regardless of the willfulness of the failure.
- Probation – Although it is done very infrequently, courts have the power to put a noncustodial parent on probation for failure to pay support.
- Incarceration for Contempt – A noncustodial parent can be incarcerated for non-payment of support.
- Civil Contempt – The Family Court and Supreme Court have the power to order the incarceration of a noncustodial parent on a showing of a willful failure to make support payments.
- Criminal Prosecution under NYPL §260.05 and NYPL §260.05.
- Legal Fees – In many support enforcement cases, the noncustodial parent may be required to pay the custodial parent’s legal fees / attorney’s fees. This can result in a custodial parent being represented by an attorney at no cost.
Please note that these remedies are generally only available when the custodial parent has an order of support issued by a court. These remedies may not be available in situations such as when there is an out-of-court agreement.
This is not complete list of remedies available in enforcing a support obligation and it is always advisable to contact a family law lawyer when deciding upon how to proceed in a support action.
Huntington Child Support Lawyer
We believe that persons receiving child support should receive all the child support required by law. We also believe that a person responsible for paying child support should not pay more than the law requires. At the Law Office of Louis L. Sternberg, we take action to obtain an increase or a reduction in child support payments, as mandated by law.
Contact us now to discuss your Nassau County or Suffolk County child support case. Call the Law Office of Louis L. Sternberg at 631-600-3295 to speak with a Suffolk County Child Support Lawyer.