Child Support Laws in Rochester

When a marriage that produced children dissolves, both parents have a legal obligation under New York Domestic Relations Law §240 to support their children financially and generally until those children turn 21. However, there is no obligation to support a child over the age of 18 if a child is “emancipated”—including if they are self-supporting, in the military, or married.

Child support is a payment from one parent to the other to provide for the needs of their child. If a child resides primarily with one parent, otherwise known as the “custodial parent,” the other parent is required to assist paying for housing, food, and other necessities—typically in the form of monthly payments, as well as a share of health insurance premiums, and reimbursements for the child’s medical expenses and child care costs.

The Child Support Formula

According to New York Domestic Relations Law §240, the support obligation of each of a child’s parents applies a mathematical formula based on the combined incomes of the parents. The greater number of children involved can subsequently increase the amount of support owed. Obligations for health insurance premiums, uncovered health care costs and child care expenses are also apportioned.

Even if you are unemployed, you are not released from your obligation to pay support. The court can impute an income and almost any form of compensation from any source can be considered income in this context, including unemployment benefits, pensions, and social security. However, certain public assistance income could be excluded. The same formula and requirements apply to unmarried parents and can be pursued, enforced and modified in the Family Court.

Modifying an Order of Child Support

If you believe a previously established child support order is no longer appropriate, you may petition the court for a modification. After receiving such a petition, the court can review the financial circumstances and child’s needs and adjust the amount you or your child’s other parent should pay if it finds a change in circumstances requires adjustment

In the same vein, a child support order that has been in place at least three years may be modified. In this case, the court no longer requires the petitioning party to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances but only that at least three years have passed or a party’s income has changed by 15 percent or more since the last order.

Violation of Child Support Orders

In some cases, a parent may fail to pay some, or all of, the ordered child support. Violating such an order can result in a charge of contempt of court, a finding of which could result in a mandate to pay attorney fees and even imprisonment.

When a payor parent violates a child support order, the other parent may request enforcement through court action. The New York Division of Child Support Enforcement Unit can assist in collection of current and past due child support.

The Division, if used to collect support, can garnish wages, intercept tax refunds and suspend the payor’s driver’s or other licensed privileges. In addition, a delinquent payor parent may have property seized, professional licenses forfeited or invalidated, or a lien placed on their home or business.

How a Rochester Child Support Attorney Could Help

The laws surrounding child support in the State of New York can be confusing, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Fortunately, a Rochester child support lawyer who understands the law can explain it to you in clear language and guide you through the associated court processes. The team of battle-toughened professionals at Tully Rinckey PLLC are ready and available to help you, so call us today at 8885294543 or email to set up an initial consultation and get started on your case.

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