Explore Custody Options with New York Child Support Software

Custody and child support are often not simple to determine. In theory New York has the Child Support Standards Act that reduces settlement to a simple calculation based on the NY Statement of Net Worth but couples often choose to waive the CSSA and come to an alternate agreement. Doing so may have complications later.

The Child Support Standards Act

The CSSA sets forth a set of tables that makes it easy to calculate child support in New York divorces. All anyone has to do is look up the parent's combined annual income and cross reference the number of children to get an annual child support obligation. The non-custodial parent then pays a percentage of this amount based on the parents' relative incomes. New York family law software does this calculation quickly and easily.

The CSSA allows the amount to be adjusted by a number of factors such as educational expenses, health expenses and an exemption for low income parents. The actual visitation arrangement doesn't impact the amount. However if the child lives with the noncustodial parent for long periods, the child's expenses are paid directly by the noncustodial parent and therefore the standard formula doesn't apply.

Adjusting Support Amounts

Divorcing couples are allowed to ignore the amounts calculated by the CSSA tables under two conditions. First, the CSSA calculations must still be made so the parties can see what the support obligation would be. Second, either both parties must agree on the arrangement or a judge must rule the arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

As mentioned, a common reason to seek a child support adjustment is when the child lives with the noncustodial parent for long periods of time. For example the child might live with the noncustodial parent during the summer when school is not in session. During this time the noncustodial parent is providing food, shelter and maybe even clothing or an allowance for the child. It wouldn't make sense to add child support payments on top of that. Using family law software, New York attorneys can easily create alternate support scenarios.

The Impact Of Future Events

NY law has determined that in a typical divorce, visitation does not affect child support. If the noncustodial parent takes the child either more or less, this is not considered a change in circumstances that would affect child support, even if it does affect the amount the custodial parent has to spend on the child.

On the other hand if the couple comes to an alternate agreement that specifically discusses custody and visitation as relevant to support, then support can be adjusted if the noncustodial parent does not visit the child. For example, see the Fourth Department's decision on Gallagher v. Gallagher on September 27, 2013, where the breakdown of the father's relationship with the children was considered grounds to raise his child support obligation.

This is an example of how legal practice management software is essential to the modern family law practice. Attorneys can quickly examine different support scenarios and develop new ones as circumstances change, always keeping the child's best interest in mind.

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