The cost of raising a child can be extremely high, especially in a state like New York. It can also be an extremely complex subject, with many different factors being taken into consideration regarding payment amounts, schedules, and other issues. That is why child support is a significant matter in any single parent’s life. Thus, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities with regard to child support.

New York Family Law: Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

The parent without physical custody is obligated to pay child support to the other parent. Child support is calculated by combining the income of both parents, subtracting certain deductions, a percentage is taken based on the number of children you have together and finally a pro rata (equal) share is assigned.

Even if the parents have completely split child custody, New York requires the parent who has the higher income to still pay child support so as to share a proportional burden of the child-raising costs.

New York Family Law: How Can I Petition for Child Support?

If you are seeking child support, you can go to family court and file for child support. Once that is filed, you must serve a summons to the other parent, and then they have to provide information about their finances.

You can also fill out an Application for Child Support Services through your local child support office. There are some documents you will have to provide to both the child support office and the court, such as your child’s birth certificate, a divorce decree or legal separation agreement if you were married, an affidavit alleging paternity, and pay stubs.

It’s important to have all of the above documents ready, as they will prove things like: your child’s paternity; the legal status of your relationship with the other parent; and showing your financial support to establish the amount of child support.

New York Family Law: What If I Do Not Want to Pay Child Support?

If you actually refuse to pay child support after being ordered to by the court, you will likely end up in trouble. A child support order can be enforced first through wage garnishment and then other punishments.

You could be found in contempt of court, which could have you placed in jail or have it reported to the credit score companies. The state can also take your tax return, refuse to give you a passport, take back your license, and seize your property.

New York Family Law: What is Wage Garnishment?

When one parent has a difficult time collecting child support payments from the other, the court may implement what is known as “wage garnishment”. This occurs through a court order that is issued to the paying parent’s employer.

The court order instructs the employer to take a portion from that parent’s paycheck, and send the payment amounts to the court to fulfill the required amounts. In some cases, the employer may also send the payment amounts to a separate intermediary agency that then processes the child support payments.

The payments are typically taken out weekly; in most cases, it may be up to the employer’s discretion to determine exactly how much needs to be taken out, and for how long of a period of time until the required amounts are paid off.

Wage garnishment for child support is typically reserved for cases where there are several missed payments and there is a large amount still unpaid. This method makes it more likely that the payments will be fulfilled, as the amounts are taken directly out of the paying parent’s paycheck.

New York Family Law: Can the Other Parent Deny My Visitation?

Fortunately, child visitation is not dependent on child support. If you have a set visitation schedule with your child, you have a right to that visitation. Even if you are behind on your child support payments, the other parent cannot interfere with your visitation. If the other parent will not allow visits, you can go back to court and ask that the visitation be enforced.

However, the other parent has a right to go to the court and petition for modification of child visitation. If you are behind on child support, then it may mean you are out of work, in-between jobs, can barely keep up with your rent or other bills.

So if you typically have visitation that allows you to have visits over the weekend or go on trips, then it’s possible that the court will see you are financially unable to maintain this level of visitation.
So while your visitation might not be completely eliminated, it could be shortened or reduced until you are able to show that visitations continue to be in the best interest of the child.

New York Family Law: How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

If you believe you should not be making child support payments, it is extremely important that you speak with a lawyer and go through the court system in order to put an end to child support. Just stopping payments on your own can lead to serious consequences for you.

Child support in New York runs until the child is 21, becomes emancipated, enrolls in the military, or gets married. The two parents can also reach an agreement about child support but that is not as common. Child support can sometimes also be terminated if you get custody of the child.

Where Can I Find the Right Family Law Attorney?

You should speak with a New York child support lawyer who can help you figure out what responsibilities you have in regards to child support. This can be very important from the beginning, so do not wait until you already involved in a case in front of court to find a lawyer.