Child Support
Criminal Defense & Family Law | New York

Child Support and Child Custody Laws in New York

When a family separates it changes the dynamics of the family by affecting the finances and the care and custody of the child(ren). New York family law attorney Racquel A. Cousins understands that the trauma and change resulting from a divorce or separation can be severe for any child(ren) involved, regardless of whether the split is an amicable one or not. When couples have children and their relationship fails, child support and child custody options must be thoroughly examined with the best interests of the children in mind as the top priority. It is important to also know the basic rules in New York regarding child support and child custody to ensure the case runs smoothly and resolves with everyone’s rights fully protected.

What are the Laws Regarding Child Support in New York?

Child support is calculated in New York State using what is called the Income Shares Formula ,in most instances; however if a parent is being evasive about their income and is intentionally  refusing to provide sufficient information to the court,  the court can choose to calculate the child support obligation based on the Needs Based Formula.  The Needs Based Formula takes into consideration all of the expenses the custodial parent claims to incur for the support of the child(ren) and awards support on that basis alone . This method of calculating child support  can be harmful to lower and middle income non custodial parents because they could be paying out much more than if their child support obligation was calculated using the Income Shares Formula. If is very important that you seek a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to you assist you with your child support matter to ensure that you pay or receive your fair share of child support

Either parent may be ordered to pay child support for the care, maintenance and education of children under the age of 21; however the parent who pays child support is the non-custodial parent.  A non-custodial parent’s child support obligation will vary depending on the number of children they have and the combined income of the parents. The following regulations are followed when determining child support in New York using the Income Shares Formula:

  • One child – 17 percent of the combined parental income
  • Two children – 25 percent of the combined parental income
  • Three children – 29 percent of the combined parental income
  • Four children – 31 percent of the combined parental income
  • Five or more children – No less than 35 percent of the combined parental income

The Income Shares Method calculates the basic child support obligation by adding both parents’ income and taking the relevant percentage of the total combined parental income. This amount will be the total support owed by both parents for the support of their child(ren). This figure is then prorated between the parents based on their annual incomes. The amount that is apportioned to you after the figure has been prorated is what you will be ordered to pay for child support. Child support also includes separate payments for unreimbursed medical expenses of the child(ren) and educational or extracurricular activities which are called “ad-on expenses”. Attorney Cousins will help you figure out the amount you should rightfully pay based on your income and other relevant factors, while always keeping the best interest of the child as her top priority.

How are Child Custody and Child Visitation Rights Established in New York?

There are different types of custody that parents can be awarded in New York. Physical custody refers to where the child(ren) lives and legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make important and life changing decisions regarding the child(ren). In New York, neither parent has a preferred right to custody of their children over the other. For example, if both parents do not pose a threat to the child(ren) and do not exhibit any negative qualities that might affect their ability to raise the child(ren), neither parent will have an advantage over the other when it comes to custody. If there is no custody order, either parent can have the child(ren) live with them.

When there is a dispute over child custody arrangements, then courts will examine the case further to determine whether one parent is not capable of holding custody of the child(ren). The court will look at several factors, including who the child(ren)’s primary caretaker is, the relationship between the parent and child(ren), and if the child(ren) is/are old enough, their personal preference. Additionally, the court will consider the parents’ lifestyles and what kind of home they can provide for the child(ren). Income, drug use, aggressive behavior, and abuse are all factors that are considered when determining child custody in New York.

Joint Child Custody in New York

Sometimes, parents will be given joint custody over the child(ren), which means both parties will share the responsibility for making decisions regarding the child(ren). If parents cannot work together in the best interest of the child, the court may grant custody to only one parent.  Therefore, it is in the parent and child’s best interest to resolve any disputes beforehand. Family lawyer Racquel A. Cousins, Esq. can help you come to an agreement with the other parent that will be in the child(ren)’s best interest. Parents are only given joint legal custody if they can agree on important decisions including medical care, religion and education, so it is important to come to a mutual understanding always considering the child(ren)’s future as the main priority.

What You Need to Know About Visitation Rights

When only one parent has physical custody of the child(ren) in New York, the other parent can usually obtain “frequent and meaningful” visitation. Usually, visitation schedules are every other weekend, every other holiday, and if the parents live close to each other, sometimes one night in the middle of the week. The only way visitation rights will be denied is if the visitation would be harmful to the child(ren), such as with an abusive parent.

However, visitation cannot be denied by another parent, even if the parent does not pay child support. If the parent who has custody of the child(ren) refuses to give the other their court-ordered visitation rights, that parent should seek legal help immediately. The Law Offices of Racquel A. Cousins can help you address these issues and will make sure that your rights as a parent are fully protected and defended in court.

If you need assistance with child custody or child support matters in New York, contact the Law Offices of Racquel A. Cousins today to schedule a consultation to discuss your rights. 

Hours of Operation

Monday to Thursday 8:30 - 7:00pm
Fridays 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday Appointments Only

Successful Outcomes

Felony cases dismissed at Grand Jury
  • People v. D. Francis, 2009
  • People v. L. Parker, 2008
  • People v. J. Lenohan, 2006
Cases reduced from felonies to violations.
  • People v. John G., 2008
  • People v. Andrew W., 2009
Speedy Trial dismissals for Felonies
  • People v. Gary. G, 2007
  • People v. Saeed F., 2009
  • People v. William B., 2009
Won Custody Cases
  • White v. Whittaker, 2006
  • Batroni v. Mesidor, 2007
Got Visitation for Fathers
  • Boyce v. Boyce, 2009
  • Aboubacar v. Clerphon, 2008
Child Support Reductions
  • Delorme v. Delorme, 2009
  • Waite v. Boswell, 2009
Obtained Maintenance for Spouses
  • Layne v. Layne, 2007
Return of child to mother in child abuse proceeding
  • Gelin/Child v. Gelin, 2007