Child Support Payments
4 Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support Payments
Divorce is a challenging process for both spouses, but when children are involved, the complexity drastically increases. Once a custodial arrangement has been reached, however, matters of child support come into play. Questions such as “How much time will the children spend with my spouse?” quickly give way to queries more akin to “How much will I have to pay when the children are not living with me?” Though there are manifold details that must feature in the negotiations of both spouses and their Saratoga divorce attorneys, New York State has regulations that influence the fundamentals of child support payments.
In the state of New York, as well as throughout much of the United States, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the custodial parent. When custody is shared equally by both parents, this matter becomes more complicated. Under New York case law, the non-custodial parent is the parent who has a greater income than her or his spouse. However, this does not necessarily entail that there is a child support payment exchanged between parents in every case of shared custody. To clear up this confusion, below are answers to the four most common questions about child support that our office has fielded.
1. How Do Parents with Shared Custody Decide Child-Related Payments?
In shared custody cases, which are common in uncontested divorce cases, we often have a shared expenses arrangement where the parents share all of the expenses that the children incur. In New York State, under the Child Support Standards Act, child support is decided according to a formula: the payments are based on the number of children in the household and the family’s income. However, the Child Support Standards Act is 10 pages in length—all in fine print—and replete with nuances and grey areas. When our Saratoga divorce attorneys addresses your case, we will explore all of these issues with you in order to determine how much your child support payments will be.
2. What Added Expenses Factor into Child Support Payments?
There are mandatory add-ons to the fundamentals of child support payments in the state of New York. These compulsory additions include payments for health insurance, the cost of premiums, unreimbursed medical and dental fees (including orthodontics), and daycare expenses.
3. Are There Any Added Expenses That Are Optional?
There are numerous add-ons that are not mandatory. These added expenses are not at all required under the statute upon which parents often agree. These can include fees such as extracurricular expenses, car insurance payments, and even the cost for children to attend schools at the post-secondary level.
4. Can I Still Claim My Children as Dependents on My Tax Return if I Am a Non-Custodial Parent?
If your spouse has primary custody of your children and you are paying full child support, you are not eligible to claim your children as dependents when you file your tax returns. According to the Internal Revenue Code, it is only the custodial parent who has the right to claim the children as her or his dependents.
Disagreements over child support should never affect children’s happiness and well-being. Though it is the parents who have agreed to separate and commence divorce proceedings, the best interests of the children must come first. If you find yourself confused about what you or your spouse may owe in child support payments, consult one of our Saratoga divorce attorneys with experience in child support with any questions that you may have.