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Long Island Divorce Lawyer Explains Child Support in Nassau County and Suffolk County, Long Island

Long Island Divorce Lawyer Explains Child Support in Nassau County and Suffolk County, Long Island

As a Long Island divorce lawyer, I see first-hand, every day that one area of divorce that causes the most stress for divorcing couples in Nassau County and Suffolk County is the matter of child support. Custodial parents are concerned they will be left with a larger financial burden than the non-custodial parent and the non-custodial parent is concerned that the money provided will not be spent on the child or children’s needs.

Child support is financial support provided by a non-custodial parent for the needs of the child or children, including basic needs such as food and clothing, medical and educational expenses, child care costs, and health insurance. The amount of support may be privately arranged between parents and caretakers, or may be determined by a Support Magistrate in Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court.

Child support obligations in New York are governed by the Child Support Standard Act (CSSA), enacted in 1989, which provides a formula for determining each parent’s responsibility to provide financially for the his or her children. The CSSA takes into account both the income and expenses of both parents in order to calculate each parent’s pro rata share of child support.

Basic child support, before considering factors such as medical or educational expenses, is determined by calculating each parent’s share of the combined parental income, and using that percentage to determine the responsibility of each party. The income calculation is based upon gross income, usually reflected in the most recent tax return, as well as other income such as disability payments, rental income, and other government or employment benefits. A court may also consider non-recurring income such as gifts or lottery winnings in its calculation.

The percentage of combined parental income that is used to calculate basic child support under CSSA is as follows:

  • 17% of the combined parental income for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • No less than 35% for five or more children

This formula is applied to combined parental income above the poverty income guideline ($11,770 annually for a single person), and up to $141,000. If a parent’s income falls below the poverty income guideline, the minimum amount for basic child support is $300 per year. Above the $141,000 threshold, the court will consider additional factors such as parents’ financial resources, additional needs of the child, and other factors it determines to be relevant. In circumstances where the total combined parental income amounts to over $141,000 the court may, but is not required to, use the percentages set forth by CSSA.

Retroactive child support may also be awarded from the date that the support was demanded. Child support will not be owed retroactively from the date of the child’s birth unless a demand was made at that time.

A court may also impute the income of a noncustodial parent if that parent is unemployed or underemployed. This may be done by basing the child support obligation upon the earning income of the individual. The imputation of income mechanism may be used by the court in instances in which it appears to the court that an individual is attempting to avoid child support obligations by remaining unemployed or underemployed.

For example, if a noncustodial parent is working “off the books,” the court may impute the income of the individual by evaluating that individual’s expenses and expenditures. For example, if a parent shows income of $11,000 per year, but his expenditures amount to $30,000 per year, a court may impute the true income by assuming that this individual earns at least $30,000 annually.

Overdue child support may be collected by the New York State Child Support Enforcement Bureau. Garnishment of wages, interception of unemployment benefits, tax refund interception, or property execution such as seizure of bank accounts are all lawful administrative procedures by which child support obligations can be enforced without going to court. Failure to pay child support can result in a noncustodial parent being held in contempt of court. This can result in a loss of driver’s license or even jail time if a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay but does not pay. A court will consider whether a noncustodial parent has truly fallen on hard times before holding the parent in contempt of court. For example, if a noncustodial parent has lost a job, incurred a large medical expense, or presents some other exceptional circumstances, the court may withhold its power to do so. However, it is important to remember that, under CSSA, this decision is entirely within the discretion of the court.

Finally, a custodial or noncustodial parent is permitted to petition the court for a modification of his child support arrangement in order to increase the amount due to increases in cost of living, or to decrease the amount due to a loss of income.

For more information on child support, visit the New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement Child Support Standards Chart at https://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/custodial_parent_info.html#whatis and https://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/pdfs/cssa_2015.pdf.

Receive a Free Consultation from a Long Island Divorce Lawyer Experienced in Child Support Issues in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Long Island

For more information about how to protect yourself and your children during your divorce in Nassau County of Suffolk County, contact a Long Island divorce attorney with great experience in child support and other divorce and family law matters. Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC and his compassionate and experienced divorce lawyers can help. Call us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary, confidential consultation or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.

Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

D-LI eBookCoverCTAsmOur 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced divorce lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.

Are $450 Divorce Lawyer Long Island Too Good to Be True in Nassau County or Suffolk County?

Are $450 Divorce Lawyer Long Island Too Good to Be True in Nassau County or Suffolk County?

As a Divorce Lawyer on Long Island, I have seen, and I’m sure you have stumbled across internet advertisements declaring that you can receive a divorce on Long Island for anywhere between $500 and $399. Like most individuals searching for an affordable way to obtain a Divorce Lawyer in Nassau County or Suffolk County, you likely clicked this link, visited the website and inquired as to what they had to offer.

However, when something seems “too good to be true”, you can be sure it usually is. Most large law firms that offer Long Island Divorces at these low rates are more concerned with quantity than quality. Sure, you can easily walk into a firm and give them $500 for your divorce, but it is unlikely you will be told the filing fees in Nassau County or Suffolk County Supreme Court alone can cost $450, and you will be responsible for that fee as well. So right off the bat your payment of $500.00 is extinguished, and your payment of $450 is not sufficient, already you’re up to nearly $1,000.

By advertising bargain basement prices, larger law firms are able to keep clients coming in through a revolving door. For example, they retain twenty (20) cases a week at this low cost, execute form Stipulations of Settlement that are sloppy, impersonalized and barebones then send you on your way. Ten (10) years down the road when your child goes to apply for college and you seek a financial contribution from your ex-spouse, you realize your Stipulation of Settlement does not provide for how to pay for college for your children. There are likely dozens of these situations that may occur after your divorce. No one wants to be in that situation.

What Else are They Not Telling Me?
Correct me if I am wrong, but I highly doubt you will sit down to meet with a Nassau County or Suffolk County, a divorce attorney from Long Island can offer to handle your entire divorce case for $500 and that they will inform you that this fee does not include the costs associated with a trial. If your Long Island Divorce case proceeds to trial, it can cost upwards of $15,000 to $25,000. Your bargain basement priced attorney will certainly not assume those costs. So who is left to finance your divorce? You.

Additionally, at any time during your litigation, a Long Island Divorce Attorney can file a motion with the Court seeking to be removed from your matter. One of the main reasons a Divorce Attorney from Long Island would file such a motion is because his or her client is not paying their legal fees. If you opted for one of these low priced law firms, it is likely you were concerned about the financial aspect of your divorce. Accordingly, it is unlikely you will have $20,000 to fund long litigation over the marital residence or child custody. You do not want to wind up in the middle of a complicated litigation with no attorney, simply because you planned to pay him or her only $500 for your entire divorce. The firm got your $500, and you got stuck in the middle of a child custody battle with no attorney.

If I Should Stay Away from these Types of Offers, How Can I Pay for My Long Island Divorce?
There is no reason to opt for a divorce where your rights will not be properly protected. If you are extremely concerned about finances, speak to more than one divorce attorney, and make sure to express your concerns. If you require even more assistance, you can always contact your local bar association which may be able to guide you in the direction of pro bono services.

Why Do These Law Firms Offer These Divorces Then?
Large Long Island divorce law firms offering divorces at such low rates just want to get you in the door. To them, the constant cash flow is more important than the quality of their work and the rights of their clients. Besides, once they have you in the door, it’s a simpler matter to “upsell” you to a larger retainer. While the low price is attractive, you have to decide if protecting your rights now to ensure a positive future after your divorce is worth more than $450.

Receive a Free Divorce Attorney Long Island Consultation

If you have concerns about retaining affordable representation that will protect your rights now, and in the future, consult with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney. As a divorce attorney, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC and his compassionate and experienced divorce lawyers can help. Call us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary, confidential consultation or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you

Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

D-LI eBookCoverCTAsmOur 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced Divorce Attorney Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.

Is the Right Choice for My Long Island Divorce Nassau or Suffolk County Divorce Mediation?

Is the Right Choice for My Long Island Divorce Nassau or Suffolk County Divorce Mediation?

Divorce Mediation Long Island benefitsWhat is Divorce Mediation & How Can It Benefit Me on Long Island?
A divorce in Nassau County or Suffolk County on Long Island does not have to be adversarial; it does not even have to involve stepping one foot into a courtroom. If you and your spouse can work together and are seeking a Long Island divorce without the time, expense and stress of judges, lawyers and monthly court conferences, the best avenue for you is likely divorce mediation. It will save you time, money and stress on you and your family. Your divorce will be settled faster, less expensively and with much less anxiety and acrimony than if you litigate your divorce in a Nassau County or Suffolk County courtroom.

Divorce Mediation, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. explains, is a process in which you and your spouse will mutually agree upon an individual (often, but not always, a Long Island divorce lawyer) to help mediate your divorce. This amicable process allows you and your spouse to maintain a healthy relationship during, and after, your Long Island divorce.

Different entities offer different programs for divorce mediation on Long Island. However, most typically offer sessions in two (2) hour time frames. Depending upon the complexity of your divorce and the issues to be resolved, you may opt to participate in one (1) two-hour divorce mediation session, or two (2) two-hour sessions. The process is completely individualized to work best with the wants and needs of you and your spouse. If you are aware you and your spouse may enter into an agreement that strays from the norm, consider contacting a divorce mediator on Long Island to work out an agreement that will work for you and your spouse.

During your divorce mediation session, your mediator, who may or may not be a divorce attorney, will educate you and your spouse of the state of the law as it pertains to your divorce. It is important to be aware that the mediator does not represent you or your spouse, and he or she is not permitted to give you legal advice. In other words, your divorce mediator cannot tell you if you are making a bad deal. He or she is there to help you and your spouse come to an agreement on the particulars of your divorce in an amicable, non-confrontational way and to make sure all the legal Ts are crossed and the Is dotted in your final divorce agreement. If you have any concerns about the agreement you have worked out with your divorce mediator, you are free to retain an independent attorney to review the agreement before you sign it. As a Long Island divorce attorney, I have reviewed numerous mediated divorce agreements for clients and sent back requests for comments and revisions to the mediator.

How Do I Select My Divorce Mediator?
A divorce mediator cannot mediate your Long Island Divorce without the consent of both you and your spouse. In my experience, this is the only difficult aspect of divorce mediation, as you and your spouse may have difficulties in agreeing upon whose services to utilize. You may interview one or 20 divorce mediators before you find one who suits you, but in order for the process to work effectively you must both be comfortable with your mediator. Additionally, if you meet with the mediator individually prior to bringing your spouse, the mediator must inform your spouse of your initial meeting. If you are looking for an expert in divorce mediation, Long Island’s most reliable choice is Robert E. Hornberger, Esq.

Benefits of Having A Long Island Divorce Attorney as Your Divorce Mediator
One of the benefits of divorce mediation is the absence of two divorce attorneys fighting each other for the rights of their clients. While this can be necessary in complex, adversarial divorces it necessarily drives up the cost and length of time to complete the divorce. While not all divorce mediators are attorneys, some Long Island Divorce Attorneys, myself included, also act as divorce mediators. Your desire to avoid attorneys may have drawn you to divorce mediation, but having a divorce attorney as your mediator should not cause you concern.

Your divorce mediator’s only role is to inform you and your spouse of the law and to assist you in reaching a mutually agreed upon divorce settlement. Having an experienced and practicing divorce attorney as your divorce mediator offers you the benefit of ensuring they are current with regard to all the applicable laws surrounding your divorce on Long Island. If the mediator’s sole purpose is to inform you of the law, wouldn’t you want a divorce mediator who is skilled in that applicable area of law?

What Types of Cases Work Best With Divorce Mediation?
Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. often tells clients with children that if they do not agree on the issue of child custody, mediating their divorce may not be simple. Divorce mediation requires the parties to cooperate and mutually reach an agreement. Because the cost of your mediation is based upon the time you spend with your mediator, it is best for you if the most difficult issues are agreed upon before-hand your session/s with your mediator. It is easy to mediate which party will retain the dining room furniture, but it can take the entire two (2) sessions to mediate which party will have residential custody of the children.

In fact, if you and your spouse already have a settlement agreement, or you have a general idea of a settlement agreement, you are the perfect mediation clients. In such instances you may even require only one (1) session, and the terms of your divorce can be finalized in as little as two (2) hours.

Receive a Free Divorce Mediation Long Island Consultation

To learn more about Divorce Mediation on Long Island and how it can save you time, money and stress, visit this page: How Divorce Mediation Works and its Benefits for Families in Nassau, Suffolk, Long Island. If you have questions about whether divorce mediation is right for you and your spouse, consult with an experienced Long Island divorce mediator and attorney. Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC’s compassionate and experienced divorce mediators can help. Call us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary, confidential consultation or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you

Divorce Attorney, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger Explains the Benefits of 4-Way Settlement Conferences

Divorce Attorney, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger Explains the Benefits of 4-Way Settlement Conferences

Divorce Attorney Long Island: 4-Way Settlement ConferenceI have seen in my 15 years of experience as a divorce attorney, Long Island divorce cases often involve what are known as 4-Way Settlement Conferences among divorcing couples and their attorneys.

If you are considering retaining a Long Island divorce lawyer, you may have heard the term “4-Way Settlement Conference.” You are likely wondering what exactly this is and what role it plays in your divorce. While the term sounds scary, it is an extremely useful tool your attorney has in his or her pocket that will help keep you and your spouse out of litigation and away from the courts if done correctly. Therefore, the following are a few useful tips and suggestions to be aware of before sitting down for your first 4-Way Settlement Conference.

  1. Discuss Your Wants with Your Divorce Attorney Beforehand: the purpose of a 4-Way Settlement Conference is exactly that: a settlement. As I am sure your Long Island divorce attorney will advise you, “a good settlement is reached when neither party is happy”; that means that neither you nor your spouse received everything requested. Your divorce attorney is going to need to be aware of those items which are most valuable to you, whether they be child support, spousal maintenance or continuing to reside in the marital residence, so he or she can use other items as bargaining chips to get you closest to an ideal settlement.
  1. Be Prepared to Speak up If Necessary: as the client, you play an important role at a 4-Way Settlement Conference. In my 15 years of experience I have been party to settlement conferences where the attorneys took the lead and the client’s simply listened. However, I have also been party to settlement conferences where the clients did most, if not all, of the talking and negotiating between themselves. The attorneys were simply there to act as referees and advise their clients. We can never know which way a settlement conference will go beforehand. Therefore, make sure you are prepared to voice your opinions in the event your settlement conference becomes more “hands-on.”
  1. Listen and Respect the Desires of Your Spouse: I understand that you may find it particularly hard to care what your spouse wants right now. However, a 4-Way Settlement Conference will only be successful if you are both respectful of the other’s thoughts, feelings and desires. These conferences are collaborative in nature and if you enter the room ready to jump down your spouse’s throat it will be a waste of time.
  1. Your Attorney Is Advocating For You: prior to entering a settlement conference I tell my clients that they will inevitably walk away feeling as though I did not fight for their interests. This is natural. These conferences are not the time for your divorce attorney and your spouse’s divorce attorney to engage in a contest to determine who is better at their job. If you want your attorney to do this, a settlement conference will not prove fruitful. These conferences are a time to gauge your desires and your spouse’s desires so you both know where the other stands.
  1. Be Open to New and Different Ideas: your spouse’s attorney may suggest solutions to issues their neither you nor your attorney thought of. Rather than automatically rejecting these ideas simply because they came from your spouse or their divorce attorney, Long Islanders are encouraged to consider them. They may have the potential to solve problems while keeping everyone happy.
  1. You Will Walk Away Realizing How Close You Really are: many couples focus only on the big ticket items when going through their Nassau County or Suffolk County divorce – the children and the marital residence. However, a settlement conference will allow you to see that other issues, such as automobiles, joint banking accounts, retirement benefits or even the family pet are agreed upon. Knowing only two or three issues remain can alleviate a large amount of the stress involved in the divorce process.

A number of my clients are reluctant to agree to a 4-Way Settlement Conference with their spouse and their spouse’s divorce attorney. However, in my 15 years of experience I have found these conferences extremely useful. If the first conference is successful, we will likely schedule another to iron out any remaining issues. Before you know it, your Long Island Divorce will be settled without you ever having to step foot in a Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island Divorce courtroom.

Want More Information? Receive a Free Consultation from a Divorce Attorney

Long Island residents who need more information about 4-Way Settlement Conferences should consult a local divorce attorney. Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC’s compassionate and experienced divorce attorneys can help you prepare you and ensure you, and your family’s future is protected. Call us today at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary, confidential consultation or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.

Download our Free New York Divorce Guide

Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced Divorce Attorney Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.