Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth: Support For A Thankless Child

There is a lot of attention — rightfully so — on irresponsible parents who don’t pay child support. However there isn’t much discussion about the ungrateful child who not only doesn’t appreciate the parent making payments every month but is overtly abusive to the parent. There is often more to a post-divorce situation than can be reflected on the NY Statement of Net Worth. Is a parent obligated to keep making payments if the relationship is estranged?

Is A Child’s Attitude Relevant?

Many children don’t appreciate the sacrifices their parents make. It may be because they are too young to understand that money doesn’t simply appear as though by magic. It may be because they are going through those selfish teenage years. It may even be their parents have been so giving that the kids have become spoiled. However the more important question is: does the child’s attitude matter in child support negotiations?

The short answer is maybe. New York law makes it clear that parents are expected to support minor children, even if those children are brats. However the key word there is “minor”. Once the child turns 18, the rules change. Although constructive emancipation rules indicate that parents are expected to support children until the age of 21, the laws aren’t so strict once the child is no longer a minor.

The Rules For Employable Children

The January 17, 2015 decision in Cornell v. Cornell relates to this scenario. Briefly, the mother in the divorce was paying child support to defray her college-age son’s education expenses. The son was not only ungrateful but verbally abusive to her. He avoided contact with her and when he did speak to her he used words to describe her that we will not repeat here. Since the son was of employable age, Justice Richard Dollinger ruled, “Vulgar words, voiced by a son against his mother easily justify discontinuing the mother’s obligation to support the ungrateful child.”

EzSupport-NY can be an important tool when dealing with this kind of tempestuous relationship. An attorney using NY child support software might decide it is tax-smart to pay more spousal support and less child support, while still paying the same total amount every month. However it’s important to consider what will happen once the child turns 18 and/or 21 since the spousal support payments will continue. If the relationship is already sour, it’s not likely to get better after the divorce.

Attorneys can create multiple worksheets to analyze different child support and spousal support scenarios. These worksheets can provide important background if the case goes before a judge. Bolster your child support negotiations with EzSupport-NY NY matrimonial law software.