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Child Support Bullet Guide (Part 8): Additional Components for Child Support Payments and Support Arrears

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Welcome back to this continued series of bullet-point guides on Child Support. If you’ve seen one of these guides before, you’ll know that it’s my way of bringing together useful information about a topic in family law, in a way that’s easy to absorb. These guides can offer valuable insights to anyone who might be pursuing a divorce case.

In this particular series on child support, we’ve covered several topics so far, addressing things like the reasons to deviate from child support guidelines, and what those guidelines might be. Today, we’re going to look at what issues might arise when a party attempts to add the costs of higher education to child support payments.

I’ll also briefly discuss the topic of arrears with child support payments.

Adding Elements to Child Support Payments

Child support in New York is calculated according to a specific formula that requires the court to consider various elements, including the income of the parties involved, and the specific needs of the child or children receiving support. In child support payments, there are basic and added components. The basic components are calculated based on the examination of the combined parental income amount. Added components are based on a variety of factors.

  • There are several elements that can go into the determination of how much child support should be paid to a custodial parent by a non-custodial parent. Basic child support is calculated based on the formula of the Child Support Standards Act.
  • When assessing the income of a parent for child support purposes, it’s worth noting that the court can add or impute income for a parent. If the court feels it is appropriate, they can also evaluate perks and benefits from a person’s job as being a component in their income. For instance, housing and car expenses may be added to the income.
  • Just as the courts can consider other factors to determine the income of the parent responsible for child support, they can also consider various elements that may require the parent to pay beyond the amount suggested by the standard formula. In the case of education, a parent is typically intended to pay towards the expenses of a child receiving a standard education. However, college expenses often aren’t awarded until it’s determined whether a child will be attending college. In other words if there is not an agreement about the payment for college for children that are not yet close to college age, the topic would not be ripe and would be dealt with at a later time.
  • While it does seem that the trend nowadays is to usually order parents to contribute towards college expenses, it isn’t always mandatory that a parent should have to pay towards the college costs of a child who chooses to go to college. When determining whether to make the award, the court may consider various factors, including the income of the parents, their educational background, the parent’s history of paying for these sorts of costs, and so on.
  • In some cases, the court will determine that its appropriate for a parent to pay towards college fees because it’s likely that the child would have gone to college if the parents had stayed together. Child support awards will often aim to ensure that the child can continue to maintain the same quality of life that they would have had if the parents had remained married.
  • In some situations, the court may reason that it’s appropriate to award additional expenses in the best interests of the children, if these costs will allow the child to continue living a certain standard of lifestyle after the end of a parent’s marriage.
Child Support Arrears in New York

In New York, both parents are expected to support their children to a certain degree. Generally, a parent without residential custody will pay support to the parent with residential custody when a marriage or relationship comes to an end. This helps the child, as much as may be possible, to attempt to maintain the same kind of lifestyle they would have had if the divorce had not happened.

  • When a payment of child support is not made, there are ways for the Support Collection Unit or custodial parent to enforce payments. Parents that owe child support from a specific time are described as being in arrears. The unpaid arrears will accumulate interest, if a violation case is brought that results in a civil judgment for the arrears, even if someone pays child support later.
  • When child support payments are issued through the SCU, or support collection unit, this agency will be responsible for keeping account of how much support is owed, as well as the amount collected. When a parent falls behind in their payments, they can take automated and administrative action in some cases.
  • If you’re a parent with support orders to pay, or you owe arrears, if they are payable to the Department of Social Services because, for example, the child support recipient was on public assistance at some point, you may be able to take part in a credit program you may be able to take which can reduce the amount you owe to the Department of Social Services. Parents should contact the Department of Social Services to inquire whether they may qualify for
  • If you owe a significant amount, your assets may be frozen or seized.
  • Parents often pay their child support through salary detections, and the bank account for the parent may be frozen if the balance reaches a certain point. If any parent feels as though they’re unable to pay the amount owed for child support, it is important for them to seek assistance from a legal professional immediately to address the problem perhaps by applying for a downward modification. They can be difficult to get but are theoretically possible under the right circumstances.

If you have any questions about the issues addressed above, or you would like to discuss your own child support case, please feel free to get in touch. You can find additional guidance on these topics on this website or connect with myself over the phone to arrange a free consultation for up to the first half an hour. You will be able to contact me through the contact form on this website also.

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