Orange County Child Support Lawyer
New York, like most other jurisdictions, is an income share child support state. These payments help children have the same standard of living they would have had if their parents were married. Therefore, the child support formula in the Empire State takes a number of different factors into account, such as the parenting time division and the proportional income of both parents.
A quick warning. Child support and child visitation are separate matters. Even if the obligor hasn’t paid a nickel, the obligee cannot restrict court-ordered visitation. That’s violating a court order and holding the children for ransom.
The experienced Orange County child support lawyer at The Law Office of Robert Sunshine routinely handle these matters throughout the Empire State. Our skills includes initial determinations, subsequent modifications, and enforcement actions. Since we handle a full range of child support disputes, when these disputes arise, and they will, there’s no need to start over with another lawyer. We simply pick up where we left off.
As mentioned, the child support formula is presumptively reasonable. A formula approach not only makes these matters easier to decide. It also leads to consistent results among judges in different counties.
Determining the net income of each spouse isn’t always as easy as it seems, even if both parents only have regular W-2 income. Intentional over-withholding is a common ploy. Obligors ask their employers to withhold extra money from each check to artificially reduce their net incomes. Then, they get this money back in the spring, without having to pay child support on it.
This scheme is also a common way to avoid spousal support payments. Attorneys that aren’t paying close attention to paycheck stubs, or aren’t looking for this ploy in the first place, often miss it.
If a spouse is self-employed or has a side hustle, income is even harder to determine. That’s especially true if the spouse uses a corporate shell, like an LLC, or a romantic partner’s bank account to conceal money.
Judges also have discretion to deviate from the formula in some cases. Common reasons for deviation include extraordinary medical expenses or unusual special needs. The formula accounts for such extra expenses, to an extent. Therefore, the extra expense must be almost off the charts to justify a deviation.
Most people change jobs frequently. So, as a rule of thumb, an Orange County child support lawyer should formally modify child support orders at least once every three or four years.
Usually, the court will modify the amount if circumstances have materially, semi-permanently, and unexpectedly changed. Typically, a 10 percent income change, higher or lower, is a material change. Generally, child support increases are retroactive to the date of change. Child support decreases usually aren’t retroactive.
Emotional circumstances could change as well. Some children feel closer, or more distant from, one parent or another at certain times of their lives. Once again, if the overnight visitation balance has changed more than about 10 percent, a legal modification is usually appropriate.
Child Support Enforcement
Less than half of child support obligees in New York receive their full child support allotments. So, enforcement actions are often part of the child support process.
Various tools are available, from a demand letter that’s basically a warning shot up to incarceration for nonpayment. Lawyers for the Attorney General, who technically has jurisdiction over such matters, don’t care anything about your family. So, they usually use the most aggressive collection tools possible, even if this usage pours gasoline onto a smoldering fire. In contrast, our Orange County child support lawyers always do what’s in your family’s best interests.
We also handle child support enforcement defense. An obligee’s claims about the amount owed aren’t necessarily the last word.
Contact a Diligent Clarkstown Lawyer
Family law matters almost always involve emotional and financial issues. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Orange County child support lawyer, contact The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. After-hours, virtual, and home visits are available.