When a parent petitions for child support, the Court makes the ultimate decision based upon very specific guidelines from the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). These guidelines determine the specific amount of the non-custodial parent’s income that will be required for payment of child support.
In order to determine if the non-custodial parent is able to pay child support, the Court will investigate all income and assets by obtaining employment and tax documents. If the non-custodial parent’s whereabouts are not known, the Court will make attempts to locate the parent through Federal, State, and local resources.
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To obtain child support, a petition must be filed in Family Court to acquire an order for child support. After the financial information of the non-custodial parent is presented to the Court, the CSSA guidelines are viewed and an amount is determined based on gross income, as well as the number of children involved. As per the guidelines, the Court takes the adjusted gross income and multiplies it by the percentage that is associated with the number of children.
That figure is then divided by 52 weeks to determine how much should be paid weekly and can be easily translated to monthly payments if the arrangement calls for it. This is the basic child support number. In addition to this, medical expenses, educational expenses and child care are also taken into consideration. The overall child support payment is intended to cover the child’s costs of food, a place to live and clothing, as well as other basic living expenses.
The CSSA guideline is applied, almost always, to any parental income not in excess of $143,000.00. For any parental income over that amount, the Court may or may not use these guidelines and may take into consideration other ways of determining an amount for child support.
Once the child support order is finalized, the non-custodial parent must make the required payments by the appropriate date. If the parent does not make the payment in a timely fashion or if the payments are not made at all, a petition can be filed with the Court to have the child support order enforced. Penalties of not paying the required child support include time in jail, having the money taken from paychecks, having tax refunds withheld, or even having your driver’s license suspended. Non-payment is not tolerated in New York, so if you find yourself in a situation in which you cannot pay, please contact a family law attorney at our office immediately to seek a modification of your current child support order.