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How Does Joint Child Custody Affect Child Support?
New York’s child support statute provides that the non-custodial parent pays support to the custodial parent. Determining which parent is custodial is straightforward when one parent has the children most of the time. But when the parents share physical custody and the kids spend roughly equal time with each, then it becomes more difficult to decide which parent is entitled to receive child support.
In these situations, New York courts look to the parents’ income. When the parents share physical custody with roughly an even distribution of parenting time, the parent with the higher income is deemed the non-custodial parent for child support purposes. From there, the court applies the standard child support guidelines. But the guidelines assume that the noncustodial parent is paying nothing, which is not the case in shared custody situations. Each parent who shares custody is covering a substantial share of the costs of raising the children.
For this reason, after calculating support under the guidelines, judges are allowed to deviate from the guideline-derived amount. The child support statute says judges may deviate if the non-custodial parent’s support obligation is found to be “unjust or inappropriate.” Courts generally recognize that deviations are necessary because it would be unfair to allow one parent who has equal parenting responsibilities to end up with a disproportionate amount of the parents’ combined income.
If a judge decides to allow a child support deviation based on shared physical custody, the judge will consider numerous factors to arrive at a just and appropriate child support obligation. These factors include:
In general, when physical custody is shared equally and there is some difference in each parent’s income, the parent with the higher income will need to pay child support. It is also possible for parents to agree that no child support need be paid. Such agreements should be in writing and approved by the court.
At Bombardo Law Office, P.C., I apply my nearly 28 years of New York family law experience to helping my clients receive fair treatment in child support and custody matters. If you have questions or need representation, please call my Syracuse office at 315-800-4002 or contact me online anytime.
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530 Oak St. Suite 102
Syracuse, New York 13203
Bombardo Law Office, P.C. is located in Syracuse, NY and serves clients in and around Syracuse, Liverpool, Camillus, Warners, Nedrow, Cicero, Clay, Marcellus, East Syracuse, Elbridge and Jamesville.
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