Child support law

Resolving spousal maintenance and child support issues can be challenging in a divorce. When emotions cloud your judgment, you need an experienced family law attorney to help you find clarity. That’s where The Saul Law Firm steps in.

We have comprehensive knowledge of the applicable provisions of the New York Domestic Relations Law and a proven history of resolving complex support issues for clients from all walks of life. When you become our client, we will take the time to listen to your concerns, explore your options, and help you make informed decisions. Contact us today to book a consultation. 

About Spousal Maintenance on Long Island

Because most couples work outside the home, spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is not guaranteed. However, the court may issue temporary or post-divorce (rehabilitative) maintenance to either spouse unless the couple has a Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreement waiving support.  

Temporary Spousal Support

The court may award temporary support to the spouse with lower or no income so that they can maintain their lifestyle during the divorce process. This support will end once the divorce is settled.

Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance

The court will also determine whether to award durational or permanent spousal maintenance:

  • Durational spousal maintenance is paid only for a fixed period after the divorce. It is considered rehabilitative because it will help the receiving spouse get training or education to become self-supporting. 
  • Permanent spousal maintenance is granted solely in lengthy marriages (lasting for 10 years or more) and where there is a significant income disparity between the spouses and where the receiving spouse cannot work due to illness or disability.

Our attorneys can help determine whether you qualify for spousal support or the amount you may be required to pay. They can also explain the Maintenance Guideline Law to you. Although reaching an agreement about spousal maintenance is preferable, the Court will step in if you cannot agree. 

Understanding Child Support in Nassau and Suffolk Counties

All parents are legally required to support their children financially. In a divorce, one parent will pay child support to the other to cover the children’s:

  • Housing, clothing, food, and other day-to-day expenses
  • Medical expenses, including health insurance costs
  • School expenses, including extracurricular activities (e.g. school sports)
  • Childcare costs

Generally, the non-custodial parent will pay child support to the custodial parent. In joint-custody arrangements, where each parent has the child 50% of the time, the higher-earning parent will pay the other parent. Child support must be paid until the child turns 21 or until they are legally emancipated – and there are legal consequences for failing to pay. 

How Is Child Support Calculated? 

Child support is calculated based on guidelines that consider a percentage of the annual gross income of both parents and the number of children involved. For parents with a combined parental income below a set threshold (adjusted annually), the following percentages apply:

  • One child – 17 percent
  • Two children – 25 percent
  • Three children –  29 percent
  • Four children – 31 percent
  • Five or more children – no less than 35 percent

If the parent’s combined income exceeds the applicable threshold, then the court may either rely on the Child Support Guidelines or consider additional factors, such as:

  • The financial resources of each parent
  • The child’s standard of living during the marriage
  • The child’s physical and emotional health, including any special needs
  • The tax consequences for each parent
  • Non-monetary contributions each parent makes for the child’s care
  • The needs of the non-custodial parent’s other children, if any

Given that support determinations can become a sticking point in a divorce, having an experienced Long Island child support attorney will help to ensure your child receives the financial support they need and deserve. 

Post-Judgment Modifications and Enforcement

After a child support order is in place, either party can ask the court to modify the order (higher or lower) under the following conditions:

  • A substantial change in circumstances, such as the paying parent involuntarily losing their job or a significant increase in that parent’s income
  • A change in either parent’s gross income by 15 percent or more since the order was entered
  • 3 years have passed since the court issued the original child support order

If you need to modify a child support order, we can help prepare and file the petition, advocate for you in Family Court, and protect your rights. We can also ask the court to enforce the order if your ex fails to make child support payments timely without a valid reason. 

Contact Our Experienced Long Island Spousal & Child Support Attorneys

Disputes over spousal maintenance and child support are common in contentious divorce cases. No matter the circumstances, turn to The Saul Law Firm for trustworthy advice and counsel. When you work with us, we will protect your rights and interests and find the best solution for you and your family. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.