Child Support

As a parent, supporting your child is one of your priorities. When you live with your child and their other parent, supporting your child is something you do as a matter of course. If parents are not living in the same household, however, child support often needs to be formalized through the legal process.

Child support issues are stressful for both custodial and noncustodial parents. If you have custody, you may be concerned about whether child support will be enough to truly meet your child’s needs. If you are a noncustodial parent, you may be worried that paying child support will not leave you enough to live on.

At the Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC, we represent custodial parents and noncustodial parents in making sure that child support awards are fair and meet the needs of everyone in the family.

Basics of New York Child Support

New York, like other states, uses guidelines to determine child support. Those guidelines involve using certain numbers, including the parents’ income and the number of children being supported, to arrive at a fair child support award. Although New York child support calculations are somewhat formulaic, an experienced attorney’s help is still important in arriving at the correct calculation.

Your attorney will ensure that the numbers used to calculate child support are accurate. Inaccurate input into support calculations can lead to an unjust child support award. Child support orders may be in place for well over a decade. Over time, a parent could pay or receive thousands more or less in support than they should. While child support can be modified, it is always best to arrive at a correct calculation from the start.

Here is how child support is calculated in New York:

  • Identify the total combined gross income of both parents. This is usually done by reviewing their most recent income tax returns.
  • Make appropriate deductions from total combined income. Common deductions include Supplemental Security Income (SSI); public assistance income such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); FICA taxes; city income tax; and spousal support (alimony) or child support paid to individuals not involved in the current case.
  • Allocate a percentage of total adjusted income to child support. This percentage ranges from 17% of income for one child to 35% for five or more children.
  • Determine each parent’s share of the child support obligation by assigning each parent a pro-rata share based on their income. For instance, if one parent earns two-thirds of the family’s total adjusted income, they will be responsible for two-thirds of the child support obligation.

This calculation does not take into account all expenses, including things like child care and medical expenses for the child. Unless the child support order dictates otherwise, parents typically share equal responsibility for those additional child-related expenses.

It is also important to note that the child care calculation is based on a capped amount of parental income. The income cap is adjusted annually for inflation; in 2022, the cap was $163,000. If your family’s income is higher than the capped amount, the court can use its discretion to award more child support. An attorney’s representation is especially critical in these high-income cases; an experienced family law attorney understands how best to persuade a court that child support should, or should not, be higher than the guideline amounts.

Modification and Enforcement of Child Support

Depending on the age of a child when support is awarded, child support orders may be in place for well over a decade. During that time, circumstances can change: a parent may change jobs, get a promotion, become unemployed, or become ill or disabled. In short, the original child support award may no longer be appropriate. In those cases, it may be necessary to seek a modification of child support. Your attorney will highlight the factors the court needs to understand in order to make a decision that is favorable to you.

Many parents often struggle with the other parent’s failure to pay child support. If you are a custodial parent, an attorney can help you pursue support that is owed to you. If you are a parent who is behind on support, an attorney may be able to help you modify support based on your circumstances and make arrangements to pay back support (arrears) that you owe. Whatever you do, do not ignore your support obligations. Doing so can result in suspension of state-issued licenses, damage to your credit rating, or even jail time.

The attorneys of the Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC are not only experienced family law attorneys; they are experienced litigators. If it becomes necessary to go to court to represent your interests in a New York child support matter, they have both the legal knowledge and the courtroom skill to advocate effectively on your behalf.

Work with a Skilled New York Child Support Attorney

The Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC has two convenient locations: in Bayside, Queen, and at 7 World Trade Center in Manhattan. The firm serves clients in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. We invite you to learn more about our firm and our team, and to contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.