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Calculating child support can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially if you are going through a child custody battle. One of the most common myths believed when calculating how much you may need to pay for child support is believing that if you have joint custody of your child, you don’t have to pay any child support. While the child support statute in New York is silent on the issue of joint custody, each parents’ support obligation will be based on fact-specific issues.

Joint custody essentially means that each parent shares equally, 50/50, the amount of time they spend with the child. While a child is in the care of each parent, that parent will be financially responsible for the child. The court, therefore, doesn’t recognize a custodial and non-custodial parent for purposes of custody, but the court will recognize a custodial and non-custodial parent for child support purposes.

Baraby v. Baraby set forth the standards for how each parent will be treated regarding the amount of child support due. Here, the court stated that the parent who has the greater income will be deemed the non-custodial parent, while the parent with the lower income will be deemed the custodial parent. Therefore, who will owe child support and how much child support will be owed is based strictly on a review of the income of both parents.

Under New York’s Child Support Standards Act, the formula used to calculate the amount of child support you will have to pay is a percentage of your gross income after tax deductions. For example, if Mindy has an income of $50,000 and Ben has an income of $100,000, their joint shared gross income is $150,000 a year. Mindy is liable for about 33% of that income while Ben is liable for about 67%. Therefore, Mindy will be liable for 33% of the child’s expenses while Ben will be liable for 67% of the child’s expenses. This is known as the pro rata share of the child support obligation.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

Child custody obligations may be waived contractually if both parents agree to waive the child support payments. Furthermore, if one of the parents refuses to allow the other parent to visit the child or enjoy their joint-custody agreement, the child support paying parent may not stop paying the child support. The reverse of this issue is also true, if one parent stops paying child support, the other parent may not refuse to allow visitation rights.

Additionally, there are several other reasons to alter or modify a child support payment agreement including, but not limited to:

  • The custodial parent’s inability to maintain a separate household for the child
  • Extraordinary financial crisis (i.e., extra financial expenses for the child)
  • Temporary modifications (i.e., short-term emergencies)
  • Remarriage which results in an increase in income
  • A permanent disability or illness of one parent
  • Change in the child’s needs
  • Employment change of one parent
  • A child’s residence change (i.e., the child now permanently lives with the paying parent)

The attorneys at Larry McCord & Associates, LLC have experience representing spouses in all aspects of matrimonial and family law litigation. The financial complexities in divorce cases can be overwhelming. Please contact Larry McCord & Associates, LLC at (631) 643-3084 to learn more about the firm’s services and approach to child support disputes.

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