When a family splits, Child Support is often one of the most contentious issues involved. A New York City Child Support Attorney can help you navigate this complicated matter.
A child support case begins with the filing of a petition in Family Court by the custodial parent or parents. The case is then assigned to a Support Magistrate or Judge of the Family Court.
What is child support?
When a couple with children splits up, the judge may order one parent to pay another a specified amount of money known as child support. The court usually uses a formula that considers the parents’ combined income.
These payments are meant to cover the basic necessities of the child such as food, shelter and clothing. They may also include unreimbursed medical expenses like copays, annual checkups and insurance premiums as well as educational or extracurricular costs such as tutors and school supplies.
Child support is not a punishment but rather an inherent duty that each parent has to their offspring. If your ex is not paying the required amount, you should seek legal help from a Manhattan family law attorney. It is important to know that failure to pay child support can lead to a number of consequences including wage garnishment and even jail time.
How do I get child support?
The first step in getting child support is legally identifying the father, which is called establishing paternity. This can be done through genetic testing or by testimony.
A good child support attorney will help parents understand how to calculate child support using their state’s guidelines and what variables might go into a judge’s discretion. It is also important that both parties disclose all income information.
Noncustodial parents should keep original receipts for health care co-pays, office visits, deductibles paid and other expenses for their records. This will give them more leverage in negotiating a fair amount of child support with the other parent.
Both parents should try to foster a relationship between their children so that the kids are happy and feel loved by both parents. This will prevent the other parent from using a lack of a bond with the children as a justification to not pay support.
What happens if I don’t pay child support?
Parents owe a legal obligation to support their children. If you fail to comply with court-ordered child support, serious consequences can ensue.
Bank accounts, wages, royalties, dividends, income from rental property and even lottery winnings can be seized by a child support enforcement agency (OCSE) to collect child support. A lien can also be placed on your personal and real property and if you ever sell your house, the amount of child support owed will be taken out of the sale proceeds.
If you find yourself struggling to make child support payments, it is important to let the OCSE know about your financial hardship as soon as possible. Having documented proof of your financial difficulties may help convince a judge to adjust future child support payments.
How do I get a child support modification?
Typically, parents who need to modify child support must demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances. This could be a loss of income, an increase in expenses, or a change in the amount of parenting time (also known as “custody”).
A judge must ensure that any changes will meet the child’s needs as determined by state guidelines. Therefore, both parents should provide current financial information and any other supporting documentation.
Parents who don’t want to hire a lawyer can usually get help from an agency that handles this type of case. However, having an attorney can help to reduce the chances of making mistakes that could be costly in the long run. Moreover, an attorney can often negotiate more favorable terms than either parent would have been able to achieve on their own.
Can I file a lawsuit for back child support?
In New York, as in most states, parents have a legal duty to support their children financially. When a parent fails to fulfill this obligation, there are many state and federal tools that can be used to obtain back child support.
These tools include wage garnishment, the attachment of bank accounts, and the suspension or revocation of professional licenses and driver’s licenses. Depending on the circumstances, child support arrears may also be reported to credit bureaus, which could impact the delinquent parent’s credit rating.
If you have questions about child support in your state, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Manhattan family lawyer. Our team has experience handling complex cases involving multiple jurisdictions, and we’re familiar with local court procedures and rules.