Understanding Child Support in Syracuse

Every state in the United States is required by the federal government to establish child support formulas and guidelines. These guidelines are mathematical formulas that calculate the amount and frequency of child support each parent pays to support their children.

Syracuse Child Support Laws

In the State of New York, this regulation takes the form of New York Family Court Act §413, also known as the Child Support Standards Act. The regulations are also found in DRL section 240 for parents who are determining child support obligations during a divorce proceeding.

To calculate an appropriate child support amount, both parents’ incomes are combined. The final amount is calculated using a percentage of each parent’s total adjusted gross income.

The formula also takes into consideration several non-economic factors, such as:

  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • Additional sources of income for each parent, such as investments
  • Number of children each parent supports in their respective households
  • Any other child support payments received or paid for children from another relationship
  • Extraordinary uninsured medical costs

In some cases, parents may agree on an amount that differs from the New York state guidelines. This is called a ‘deviation’ from the statutory child support obligation. In such a scenario, the court will ascertain whether the agreement is fair and reasonable, as well as if there is a proper basis for the deviation, prior to final approval and issuing an order.

In all cases, parents are required to ensure that their children have health insurance, either through their employer, if it is available at a reasonable cost, or if none is available or its too high a cost, then through the health insurance marketplace or sometimes state-sponsored programs.

Violating a Child Support Order

Neglecting to pay a child support obligation carries serious potential consequences. Once the receiving parent reports non-payment to the court and/or the appropriate state authorities, the enforcement actions by a child support enforcement unit usually take swift action.

Even if the non-paying parent resides in another state, serious penalties may be imposed across state lines. 18 U.S.C. §228 makes it a federal offense to deliberately fail to pay a minimum of $5,000 in child support.

Some of the possible penalties for failure to pay child support include wage garnishment, suspension or non-renewal of a driver’s license, intercepting tax refunds, placing a lien on bank accounts, suspension of a professional license such as a nursing license or realtor license, a hold can be placed on your passport so that you might not be able to travel, and even arrest and incarceration.

Modification and Termination of Child Support

Child support orders may be modified if there is a substantial change in the circumstances of your child or either parent. A reduction might be ordered because of a parent’s loss of employment, reduced income, or an injury. Conversely, the award may be increased if the non-custodial parent has increased income due to a promotion or job change.

Child support typically terminates when a child turns twenty-one and is not in school. This is called “emancipation,” and it means the child is no longer financially dependent on the parents. Sometimes child support orders contain language that specifies when the obligation terminates. In many cases, filing a petition in court will be necessary to officially terminate support.

Call a Syracuse Matrimonial/Family Law Attorney Today for a Consultation

Most of the time, parents want the best for their children and agree to provide appropriate financial support. However, there are times when one parent attempts to hide assets to allow them to pay less child support. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and experience to help you handle this and any other situation you may encounter during your divorce, or during the separation of your former family unit for non-married parents. We can assist with initial applications for child support, with enforcement actions, and with violation applications with possible sanctions being requested.

At Tully Rinckey PLLC, we work hard to help our clients obtain a fair outcome when it comes to supporting their children. A Syracuse matrimonial/family law attorney from our firm could explain the rules regarding child support payments, identify how they apply to your situation, and help you draft an effective plan of action.

Call today to see how we can help you. We are available in Syracuse by phone at (315) 492-4700 or by email at info@tullylegal.com.

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