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Things to know about child support

Taking care of the financial needs of a couple's children after divorce may be complicated. Understanding important facts about child support can help unravel some of its mystery.

New York law governs child support. It is usually a monetary payment from a parent to the other parent who is the child's primary caretaker to help cover the child's financial needs. Because the parent with custody must pay for the child's daily expenses, the other parent is required to pay support.

Expenses usually include housing, food, clothing, health care and entertainment. The parent who pays support is usually referred to as the obligor while the parent receiving payment is identified as the obligee.

Although a parent can file for support, courts usually set it as part of the divorce decree. Factors considered by the court include the number of children a person is responsible for, a child's needs, the custodial parent's cost of living and the child's standard of living that would have existed if the parents did not divorce. Calculation guidelines help courts and attorneys determine the amount of support.

Joint custody changes child support considerations. Support may not be ordered if the parents spend the same amount of tie with their child. If one parent spends more time with their child, some support may be required for that parent.

Physical custody or the number of nights that a child spends with a parent can affect child support. Child support calculations, however, are not based upon legal custody and the right to make decisions on the child's health, education and welfare. Agreement on support should be based upon the best interests of the child and not the parent's willingness to pay a specific amount of support.

A parent may seek modification of support payments because of a change in circumstances such as rise or drop in salary, the child has a new special need or there is a change in the responsible parent's living condition.

Job loss, a change in custody or something that alters a parent's or child's circumstances such as college attendance may also justify modification. However, the child support calculation is based upon income which will be a deciding factor on whether a support order is modified.

An attorney can help negotiate a fair and reasonable support or seek one in court. They can also help assure that it is enforced.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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