It is my belief that the children’s needs should be the priority in any parenting arrangement, but child and spousal support often go hand in hand. More than simply guidelines, the court-ordered financial maintenance or support is an obligation that is enforceable by law. The parents are obligated to do this until the child is 18, but often an arrangement is made to support them through college or professional school. It does not matter if the child was born out of wedlock.
The Child Support Formula
The federal government passed the Family Support Act in 1988. This established uniform guidelines for determining child support payments throughout the country. Sometimes, this is referred to as a formula or calculation. However, there can be unique expenses on the part of the parent (such as child support to another child) that can also impact the amount. There are different models to fit different families:
- Income shares: This puts the income of the two parents together and then a percentage of that amount is used for child support.
- Percentage of income: This applies to the noncustodial parent’s income with an allotted percentage used for child support.
- Melson formula: This more complex version of the income shares uses a formula that takes the rising standard of living of either parent into account.
Child support covers more than just the expense of food, shelter, clothes and medical care. It is also intended to be used to pay for activities that enrich the child’s life. Examples of this would be music lessons, sports activities and other crucial formative experiences.
Alimony, Spousal Support Or Maintenance
New York state passed Bill A7645-2015 in 2015 that set the duration and amount for permanent or temporary post-divorce spousal maintenance. An attorney can argue to ensure that payments are fair, but judges will also weigh a variety of factors, including the spouse’s age, the length of the marriage, the spouse’s ability to earn a living and their health status. There are two general categories to spousal payment during and after divorce. These are:
- Permanent spousal support: The traditional payment of funds as determined by a judge or in negotiations. The general income cap is $175,000 for post-divorce support.
- Temporary maintenance: These payments occur during the petition for divorce process or to pay for a specific period of time.
After The Divorce
Changes can be made in specific circumstances, generally in regard to loss of job, reduction in income, sudden illness, spouses getting remarried and other factors. Enforcement may also be an issue if a spouse is in arrears. I am an experienced lawyer who has worked with dozens of clients facing these issues.
Contact Me To Discuss Your Custody Or Alimony Agreement
Call my office in Garden City at 516-350-5074 or you can reach me through my Contact page.