There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to child support — specifically, how it can or cannot be used by the receiving spouse. Child support is money that is supposed to keep a child’s standard of living relatively similar to their standard of living before their parents divorced. However, divorce can complicate financial arrangements, and former spouses—both custodial and non-custodial—may be unsure of whether child support payments are being spent properly.
At The Mandel Law Firm, we understand that you care about your child and want to be sure that child support payments are going towards their benefit. We pride ourselves on aggressively negotiating child support payment terms to serve both your and your children’s best interests, and to help you understand how this money may be spent.
If after this article you still have questions or concerns about child support, contact an experienced family law attorney with The Mandel Law Firm. We can answer your questions and help you find solutions to your child support dilemmas.
What is Child Support?
Child support is a financial arrangement that is determined and enforced by the courts. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays a set amount of support to the custodial parent, either weekly, biweekly, monthly, or bimonthly. A custodial parent is generally classified as the parent who has primary physical custody of the child, or the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays child support to provide economic stability to the child and to help ensure that all the child’s basic needs are met.
What Does Child Support Cover?
New York outlines what child support payments are supposed to cover. Typically, payments need to help cover the basic needs and care of the child. Basic needs as outlined by the state of New York include:
- Housing costs
- Medical and dental care
- Household expenses that contribute to a child’s quality of life
The courts may also deem other expenses necessary if they are considered essential to the child’s personal and academic growth.
Daycare and babysitting costs are not generally considered to be expenses covered by child support payments. Each parent may also be responsible for covering their own share of add-on expenses, like extracurricular activities or summer activities.
How Child Support is Calculated
The courts will determine how much child support is appropriate. Typically, child support is based upon the non-custodial parent’s gross adjusted income and the number of children that need to be supported. The gross adjusted income is multiplied by a certain percentage to arrive at the total child support payment. New York’s percentage scale is as follows:
- 17% for one child
- 25% for two children
- 29% for three children
- 31% for four children
- at least 35% for five or more children
The non-custodial parent’s share of medical and educational costs may also be added into the final income percentage total.
These percentages are simply guidelines. The courts can adjust the amount of child support based upon the non-custodial parent’s tax bracket or other relevant financial information.
In most cases, the custodial parent spends their child support payments on their children’s maintenance. However, if you suspect that your former spouse is misspending that money, or you believe that the payments you are receiving are not enough to cover the costs of your children’s care, you may want to contact an experienced family law attorney in New York to discuss your concerns in detail.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm
If you are separating from your spouse or need to make a modification to a current child support arrangement, contact the New York child support lawyers at The Mandel Law Firm today. We can review your situation and answer all your child support questions with honest and straightforward answers. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.