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What are Decisions To Be Made On Child Support?

When couples divorce, many important decisions need to be made. This is especially true if the couple has children, since child support will be an issue examined closely by the court. Because New York law requires that both parents responsible for a child provide financial support until the child is age 21, the process of determining how much child support must be paid entails a number of factors. Due to the many details that go into this complicated process, it’s always important to work with an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to handle these matters. If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce where child support will be an issue, here are some of the most important decisions related to the matter.

Child Support Standards Act
Once a child support order is finalized, the court uses guidelines under the Child Support Standards Act to determine how much financial support each parent will need to provide for the child. While there are basic formulas the court uses in these cases, it always has the option to deviate if special circumstances are present. In any case, the court always attempts to put the best interests of the child above all else.

Parental Finances
In most of these cases, the non-custodial parent will likely be expected to pay the custodial parent a set amount of money each month, even if a joint custody agreement is in place. In most situations, the parent who has the highest income is expected to make payments to the custodial parent, since that parent will be responsible for the majority of the child’s day-to-day care. However, even when receiving payments, the custodial parent is still expected to provide financially for the child, ensuring the child will have an adequate standard of living. It’s also important to remember that the non-custodial parent will be ordered by the court to make payments on a monthly basis, even if they are unemployed or have little contact with the child, and it is their responsibility to make those payments in a timely manner.

Standard of Living
In any child support case, the court is very concerned with ensuring the child has a standard of living that will not be severely diminished due to the divorce. To ensure this is the case, the court will rely on a number of factors to make sure the standard of living will be maintained. This will include examining the incomes of both parents, how many children will be living with the custodial parent, the number of hours worked by the custodial parent, and other related factors. If it turns out the custodial parent’s income is higher than that of the non-custodial parent, the court will often lower the amount of the child support payment to be made.

How Will Child Support Be Used?
Since the main goal of child support is to keep the child living at the same level to which they have become accustomed, courts will also look at how the child support payments will be used to provide for the child’s well-being. Viewed as a resource to keep the child from being neglected or potentially ending up homeless, child support payments are generally expected to be used to purchase groceries, clothing, school supplies, and other items needed for the child’s welfare. Along with this, the money can also be used to help pay utilities, rent, mortgage payments, or other expenses related to the child’s housing needs.

Altering Child Support Payments
In some situations, there comes a point where the custodial parent may feel as if additional child support funds are needed to keep the child at a reasonable standard of living. For example, if the living conditions dramatically change for the child, or if the custodial parent can prove the other parent’s income has increased substantially, they can have their attorney petition the court for an increase in child support payments. And along with this, if the non-custodial parent ceases to make the court-ordered child support payments on time, the custodial parent can go to court about this as well, where their attorney will file a motion of cause to have the non-custodial parent explain to the court why the payments are not being made. In any case, the goal of the court is to make sure the children involved will not have a reduced level of living due to financial hardships.

Use an Experienced Attorney
In any divorce case that involves child support, it’s extremely important to work with an attorney who understands the various complexities concerning these legal matters. If you find yourself in need of legal guidance regarding child support, contact us as soon as possible. Call us toll-free at 888-997-5177 and schedule a consultation, where we can discuss your case in greater detail. By doing so, you’ll gain peace of mind, having attorneys who will ensure you and your children receive the assistance you deserve.