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Child Support Demystified

Posted in Child Support on 11th December 2010

Child Support Demystified

      It is always relevant and important information when a professional provides key facts regarding child support.  Particularly these days where we are all faced with tough economic circumstances, either directly or indirectly, knowing how to deal with receiving or paying child support is most useful. New Yorkers familiar with the child support laws, think they know enough to present their case or defend their position without the need to consult with an expert.  However, many of the common beliefs about child support are misconceived, misunderstood or misguided.  I have chosen to dispell some of the most common myths, misconceptions and confusion about one of the most significant areas of family law.


Here are some:


          1.     The support obligation for the dependent child is up to he/she reaches 21 years (even if that child lives in another state after the order is entered) unless he/she becomes emancipated before that age by marriage, full-time employment earning enough to be self-sufficient, enlisting in the armed forces, abandoning the parents’ home without reason or consent or some other act where the child becomes self-supporting.


          2.     Step parents are obligated to support step children if the children would otherwise become recipients of public assistance.  However, that obligation ends once the step parent and the biological parent divorce or the step-parent dies.


          3.     If both parties have joint physical custody (which must be 50/50), the non-custodial parent still has an obligation to provide financial support if he/she earns more than the non-custodial.  The only circumstances where the courts would apportion support is if there is split custody, where one child lives with one parent and his/her sibling(s) lives with the other.


          4.     Parents can legally enter an agreement regarding the amount of support without court’s intervention as long as the amount is not less than .00 per month and both parties review the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) to determine what the support obligation would be based on the statute.  These provisions should be included in the agreement to be enforced by the court.


          5.     If the custodial parent is on public assistance, the Human Resources Administration (“HRA”) can sue the non-custodial parent for support.  If the court directs an Order of Support of per month, then they will give the entire amount to the custodial parent plus entitled benefits.  If the Order of Support is or more, the custodial parent will get the first dollars only plus entitled benefits.  If the Order of Support is more than the entitled benefits amount, then public assistance will be terminated and replaced by the Order of