If a couple with children gets divorced or otherwise ends their relationship, it may have a significant impact on their lives. The same may be true for their children as well if they still depend on their parents to meet their basic needs. In New York, the law says that both parents must provide for their children after a marriage or relationship comes to an end. Depending on the circumstances of a case, one parent may be required to pay child support.
Who Pays Child Support?
The parent who has primary physical custody is generally the one that receives child support from the other parent. This is because the child lives with the parent who has physical custody of the child. In some cases, support amounts may be offset by contributions made by the noncustodial parent. For instance, if the noncustodial parent pays for food or other expenses out-of-pocket, he or she won’t be required to pay as much in formal support each month.
How Are Support Obligations Determined?
Child support obligations are determined by a variety of factors. One of the primary factors is how much a parent makes in a given year compared to how much the custodial parent makes. The amount of support a parent pays each month may also depend on how many other children that he or she is currently supporting. Finally, a court may take into consideration whether a child has special needs such as ongoing health care costs that need to be paid for.
What Happens If Support Payments Aren’t Made?
Child support payments are considered priority payments under the law. This means that they must be made regardless of a parent’s financial situation, and they cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy. While an existing order may be modified, back payments must still be made according to any previous order put in place.
If a child support payment is not made, a parent may have his or her wages garnished until he or she is caught up. Parents who are behind on child support payments may also face jail time depending on how much they owe. However, this may not be the best solution as a person generally cannot generate an income while in custody.
What If Parents Don’t Pursue Late or Missed Payments?
Parents may have the ability to overlook the fact that a support payment hasn’t been made or hasn’t been made in full. In some cases, a parent may be sympathetic to someone who has just lost a job or is still trying in good faith to provide for the child. However, if a parent is receiving public services, the state government may step in and demand that payments are made. This is because child support payments are designed to keep parents from using public services if at all possible.
What If a Child’s Parents Never Got Married?
A parent may be liable for child support even if that person never married the child’s other parent. Once a person is named the legal parent of a child, he or she is required to provide for the child. As a practical matter, the person who gives birth to the child is the legal mother unless parental rights have been terminated prior to it taking place.
The child’s father may be determined through a voluntary acknowledgment or through a DNA test. Until it is determined a man is the father of a child, he is not obligated to provide financial or other support for that child. A man may still be declared the legal father of a child even if the mother is married to another person when the baby is born.
When Do Child Support Orders Terminate?
Child support orders may terminate for a variety of different reasons. First, the child may have turned 18 or otherwise reached the age of majority. If a child is legally emancipated, gets married or joins the military, support obligations may also come to an end. Support orders may also be terminated at any time by a judge if there is reason to do so.
Child support is designed to make sure that children have what they need to evolve into productive adults. Those who have not received support payments or are struggling to pay them may want to consult with an attorney. This may make it possible to come to a solution that works for both the parents and the child at the same time.
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