All parents in Brooklyn must support their children financially, but child support disputes are common in contentious divorce and paternity cases. The best way to ensure your child has the financial resources they need and deserve is to consult an experienced child support attorney.
As a leading family law practice serving clients in Brooklyn, Aiello & DiFalco, LLP is the firm of choice for navigating child support matters. Well-versed in New York’s child support guidelines, we will guide you through the process and help you find the best solution.
While we recommend that clients settle issues through negotiations, we are prepared to litigate your divorce or family court proceeding to achieve the best possible outcome. Call us today for a confidential consultation.
Understanding Child Support in Brooklyn
Child support refers to the financial contribution that one parent, typically the noncustodial parent, must make to the custodial parent to care for their children. In situations where both parents share equal physical custody, the parent with the higher income is designated as the noncustodial parent and is responsible for child support payments.
This support covers essential expenses such as:
- Healthcare (add on)
- Childcare (add on)
- Education (add on)
This obligation continues until the child reaches 21 (or earlier if they become legally emancipated under New York law). While it’s possible for parents to agree on extending support until the child turns 22 or completes college, the court does not have the authority to mandate payments beyond the age of 21 unless the child is disabled.
What are the child support guidelines in New York?
Support payments in Brooklyn are calculated based on the state’s guidelines. In short, the court determines the amount based on a percentage of the parent’s total gross income minus deductions that depend on the number of children who are entitled to support:
- One child — 17 percent
- Two children — 25 percent
- Three children — 29 percent
- Four children — 31 percent
- Five or more children — No less than 35 percent
Gross income encompasses wages, bonuses, overtime compensation, commissions, self-employment income, and all other forms of income.
The court directs parents to pay child support up to an income cap (currently $163,000) unless it finds that amount inappropriate. If their combined income exceeds the cap, the courts may consider other factors to award additional support based on the income above the cap. For instance, the courts can use the formula for the first $163,000 and determine the remainder based on the following factors:
- Each parent’s financial resources
- The child’s standard of living during the marriage
- The child’s physical and emotional health, including any special needs
- The tax consequences for each parent
- Non-monetary contributions each parent makes to care for the child
- The needs of any other children of the noncustodial parent
- Any other factor(s) the court deems appropriate
The Challenges of Child Support Cases in Brooklyn
Despite the state guidelines, child support can become a sticking point in a Brooklyn divorce if the parents disagree about their income or the amount of support needed. Calculating monthly payments becomes even more complicated if either party attempts to conceal their income or their gross income is unclear (e.g. a small business owner with numerous deductions).
Child custody cases become especially challenging if the combined parental income exceeds the statutory cap. There are also cases involving equal custody and other shared custody arrangements with two working parents, where a deviation or adjustment to child support may be appropriate.
In any event, working with our experienced Brooklyn child support attorney is the best way to protect your rights and the well-being of your children. At Aiello & DiFalco, we have the skills and experience to represent the full interests of our clients.
Unless an agreement states otherwise, a parent can request the court to revise a child support order under two conditions: (1) 3 years have passed since the order was established or (2) there’s been a significant change in income (15% or more).
Examples of such changes include:
- The paying parent losing their job involuntarily
- A substantial increase in the paying parent’s income
- Either parent becoming permanently disabled
- An increase in the child’s medical needs
If you need to modify your child support agreement, our Brooklyn child support attorneys will help you prepare and file the necessary paperwork, represent your interests in court, and ensure your rights are fully protected throughout the process.
If the paying parent fails to make the required payments without a valid reason, the court may enforce the order by:
- Ordering payments to be deducted from their paycheck (wage garnishment)
- Placing a lien on personal property (e.g. a home or car)
- Seizing bank accounts
In Brooklyn, a parent who deliberately neglects their child support payments may face contempt charges, potentially leading to imprisonment. However, courts usually hesitate to impose jail time, recognizing that incarceration prevents the parent from earning the income needed to make these support payments.
Contact Our Experienced Brooklyn Child Support Attorney
Whether you need to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order, having informed representation can make all the difference. Contact Aiello & DiFalco today to learn how we can help.