Divorce is an emotional process for everyone involved, and anyone going through it with children has questions regarding child custody and child support. Child custody arrangements should always be made with the child’s best interests in mind. However, sometimes individuals mistakenly believe that seeking joint physical custody of a child means they will not be required to pay child support.
How does child support and child custody work in New York? At The Mandel Law Firm, we want to help shed light on New York’s child support system and what a joint custody schedule could mean for your child support payments.
Determining Child Support in New York
Following a divorce, child support is the amount of money the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent to help cover the child’s basic needs, like food, clothing, and other essentials. The Child Support Standards Act, or CSSA, establishes how child support is calculated in New York. The CSSA outlines a formula where combined parental income is multiplied by a specific percentage dictated by the number of children needing support. The amount is divided between the parents according to income. In cases where parental income exceeds a set level, the court may decide on appropriate child support. This amount, plus health care coverage, childcare, and education costs, is a parent’s total child support obligation.
How Custody Factors into Child Support
In most cases, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent child support. A custodial parent is a parent who has primary physical custody of the child. In other words, the custodial parent is the one the child lives with most of the time. Yet, what happens when parents have joint physical custody of a child? Many parents mistakenly assume that because they share physical custody of a child, they are not obligated to pay child support to the other parent.
Do You Pay Child Support with Joint Custody?
Yes. Child support is money used to make sure the child of a divorce has nearly the same standard of living after the divorce as before. The money covers a child’s necessities. Even in cases where parents share 50/50 physical custody of a child, it is usually required for one parent to pay child support to the other parent. Why? Because typically, one parent’s income far exceeds the other parent’s income, which could create hardships and a reduced standard of living for the child when they live with the parent with less income.
The Bast Case established that a higher-earning parent could pay child support to the other parent even with a 50/50 joint custody agreement. Courts are still citing this case as precedent, relying on that court’s determination that CSSA principles must be applied even in cases of joint custody and that the higher-earning parent should be considered the non-custodial parent for child support purposes.
The Final Word on Child Support? Contact a Seasoned New York Family Law Attorney
What’s the consensus? Do you owe child support with joint custody or not? Child support payment cases are complicated, especially when the parents share joint physical custody of a child. The only way to determine your potential child support obligation is to speak with a knowledgeable New York family law attorney about your situation.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm today to arrange a confidential consultation. If you’re contemplating divorce and you have children, or if you’re already divorced and need to alter your child support agreement because of changes in your life, we can help. Call us today at (646) 770-3868 so we can discuss your circumstances and find the best possible outcome for your situation.