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Child Support on Long Island, NY

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Child support Lawyer, Long Island, NY
Child support Lawyer, Long Island, NY

Child Support  

One of the most stressful areas of family law for divorcing and separating couples on Long Island, NY 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.

Here’s what to know about child support and how you can get the qualified legal help you need by contacting the experienced family law attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.


What is Child Support?

Child support is considered the 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 agreed upon between parents and caretakers, or it may be established by a judge.

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Who Pays Child Support? 

Under New York law, every parent on Long Island, NY has an obligation to provide for his or her children. The parent with whom the child lives is known as the “custodial parent,” while the parent who does not live with the child is known as a “non-custodial parent.”

A non-custodial parent must provide financial assistance for the support of his or her child even though they do not live with the child. This is true even in cases where a child spends equal time with both parents.

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How Can I Ensure I Receive Child Support on Long Island, NY?


Child Support and Paternity 

Under New York state law, there is a rebuttable presumption that the husband of a woman who gives birth during the marriage is the legal father of the child. Therefore, the husband will be considered the legal father of the child even if he is not the biological father. This presumption is rebuttable, meaning that a petition for paternity can be filed to determine if the husband is in fact the father of the child.

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How Is Child Support Calculated? 

New York law provides a formula for calculating each parent’s financial responsibility to his or her children. This law is called the Child Support Standards Act, or CSSA. The formula takes into account the income and expenses of each parent, as well as the number of children, to calculate each parent’s share of responsibility.

Basic child support is determined by calculating each parent’s share of the combined parental income. The percentage of combined parental income that is used to calculate basic child support under CSSA is known as the pro-rata share and is calculated 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

For instance, let’s say Parent A makes $75,000 per year (as reported as his or her adjusted gross income on the last filed income tax return) and Parent B makes $25,000. The combined parental income would be $100,000 per year, with Parent A contributing 75% and Parent B contributing 25% to the combined income. In this case, Parent A’s pro-rata share would be 75% and Parent B’s pro-rata share would be 25%.

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.

However, in addition to gross income, the court has discretion to look at the overall needs and resources of the family. Although the court is required to use the formula, it has the ability to adjust the formula if it finds that the result is unfair or inappropriate considering all the circumstances involved. For instance, a court may also consider non-recurring income such as gifts or lottery winnings in its calculation.

In cases where the total combined parental income amounts to over $163,000, the court may, but is not required to, use the percentages set forth by CSSA. This means that a larger percentage of income may be ordered in order to support the child because there is likely more discretionary income available in these circumstances.

Some non-custodial parents are also responsible for covering a certain percentage of medical, educational, and child care expenses. This percentage will be determined based upon the income of the non-custodial parent. Usually these costs are split up proportionally based upon how much each parent earns.

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What If Your Ex Is Hiding Income? 

If you are concerned that your ex makes more money than they are reporting, you may be able to bring the matter before a court to look further into their income. 

A court can impute the income of a noncustodial parent if that parent is unemployed, underemployed, or reporting less than they are actually making. The imputation of income mechanism may be used by the court in instances where the payer is attempting to avoid child support obligations by remaining unemployed or underemployed.

For example, a court may impute the income of the individual by evaluating that individual’s monthly expenditures. For example, if a parent shows income of $11,000.00 per year, but his expenditures amount to $30,000.00 per year, a court may impute the true income by assuming that this individual earns at least $30,000.00 annually.

Retroactive Child Support 

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.

Child Support and Visitation 

Visitation and child support are separate issues and a custodial parent cannot violate a court’s order to deny visitation just because child support hasn’t been paid. If you find yourself in the position of being denied visitation to your child due to unpaid child support, you will need to take the matter to court for enforcement. 

Child Support and Your Taxes 

Another key issue for divorced and separated parents is who gets to claim the children on their taxes. While you were married, it is likely that you and your ex-spouse filed joint income tax returns. You combined both of your incomes and simply noted the number of children you had so you both were awarded the tax benefit of the children as dependents. 

However, along with a divorce comes the question of which parent can claim the children on their income tax returns and how to make that decision. While you may automatically assume that the custodial parent is entitled to claim the children on his or her tax returns, this is not always the case and it is important to be aware of the possible outcomes.



Overdue Child Support 

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 fails to do so. A court will also 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 his or her job, incurred a large medical expense, or presents some other exceptional circumstances, the court may withhold its power to do so.

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Child Support Modification 

A child support order can be modified only if there is a significant change in circumstances. A significant change in circumstances usually means a large increase or a large decrease in income. Either the custodial or noncustodial parent may petition the court for a modification of his child support arrangement in order to increase the amount due to a marked increase in cost of living or to decrease the amount due to a loss of income.

A court can also modify the award if at least three years have passed since the award was ordered or modified and there has been a 15% or greater change in either spouse’s income. The party seeking the modification would need to petition the court and ask for the court to change it.

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Get Qualified Legal Help with Your Child Support Case Today 

The family law firm of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. handles all aspects of family law, including child support, matrimonial law, divorce and mediation. If you have concerns about your divorce, child custody, or child support matter, call 631-923-1910 today for a free consultation or fill in the short form and we’ll get right back to you.


Robert has been my attorney for 14+ years. Through the years he has taken every call, and responded to every email, even when we were not dealing with an active court matter. Most recently, he, and his amazing team, did everything to see me through a lengthy and draining child support modification. His experience with Divorce, and Family Court, matters makes him extremely knowledgeable; therefore, if he doesn’t feel you can benefit from an action, he will advise you as much. He is not in this business to charge you fees just for the sake of making money. He will listen to you, take your feelings into consideration, and then take the time to explain how the Law works. The Courts do not care about your feelings but he, and his entire firm, genuinely do care about you AND work to obtain the best possible outcome! All the while, truly understanding these matters are very difficult to go through emotionally AND the financial impact they have on you. I highly recommend Robert and his firm… you will not be disappointed.

Darlene Iglio

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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
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