• Child support is mandated by New York State law and must be included in any divorce settlement or decree. Contrary to what some people believe, it is not intended to punish the person required to pay it or reward the custodial parent who receives it. It is for the benefit of a child, and the obligation to pay child support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy or unemployment, or voluntarily waived by the custodial parent.
      • While the amount of child support required will depend on the income of each parent, just because a custodial parent remarries or improves his or her financial situation does not mean the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent will change or cease. There needs to be a material, unforeseen change in your circumstances to entitle you to a modification of your child support agreement or order.

 

  • How Much Child Support Will My Ex-Spouse or I Have To Pay?

 

        • Child support is calculated according to a formula contained in New York State law, known as The Child Support Standards Act. While the court is willing to take into consideration extenuating circumstances that affect one’s ability to pay child support, the formula used provides a good estimate of what you will be expected to pay. If the non-custodial paying spouse earns in excess of $136,000 a year gross income, a judge has the discretion to determine what amount of support should be paid.

        • If a non-custodial parent is currently paying child support for children from different marriages or mothers, the court may subtract the amount currently being paid and use the remaining amount as base income before using the child support formula.

 

  • Child Support Enforcement

 

      • Failure to pay child support can impact your credit history, result in garnishment of wages, loss of your driver’s license and/or passport, and possibly even jail time. In extreme cases, the state may act to seize certain assets or property. Individuals who fail to pay child support run the risk of encountering substantial legal and financial difficulty later – even if they manage to avoid problems initially.

    • Modifying Child Support Payments

      • If illness or the loss of employment creates the need to increase the child support received or decrease the amount paid, a modification of child support may be appropriate. An informal verbal agreement between you and your ex-spouse or parent of your child will not be enforceable and could lead to future legal complications. A petition needs to be filed with the court to seek a modification of the amount of child support you may receive or pay.