Child Custody & SupportServing WNY for over 15 years
Child Custody & Support Attorneys
Serving Parents Across the Buffalo, NY Area
At Muscato & Shatkin LLP, our experienced matrimonial and family attorneys understand just how difficult it is to go through a divorce, especially when there is a child or children involved. Our child custody and support attorneys have the experience and knowledge to properly represent you through your child custody and support disputes. In addition to experience with child custody, our family and divorce lawyer can help with the division of marital assets and walk you through the process of a divorce.
Be sure that you have the right representation when it comes to the care of your child. We’re proud to work with parents and spouses throughout West Seneca, NY; Cheektowaga, NY; Hamburg, NY; Orchard Park, NY; Tonawanda, NY; and Lancaster, NY. Contact our office in Buffalo, NY today to speak with a member of our team and request a free consultation.
Child Support Orders & Other Information
Child Support Standards Act was founded to have consistency concerning the amounts of child support awarded in each case. The courts will follow the guidelines wherein child support consists of a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s gross income minus the deduction for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) only. The percentage of the non-custodial parent’s gross income differs depending on the number of children, typically:
- 17% for one child
- 25% for two children
- 29% for three children
- 31% for four children
- A minimum of 35% for five or more children
Child support can be modified either upwardly or downwardly based upon an appropriate change in circumstances following the granting of a child support order. Oftentimes, increases are granted when the spouse that pays the child support has a substantial increase in income and the current amount of child support being paid is now insufficient. Conversely, if the spouse that pays the child support is laid off or loses their employment for a reason that is no fault of their own, they can be entitled to a reduction in child support. The court calculates the basic child support obligation based upon consideration of the following factors:
- The financial resources of the custodial and non-custodial parent and those of the child
- The physical and emotional health of the child and their special needs and aptitudes
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or household not been dissolved
- The tax consequences to the parties
- The non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of the child
- The educational needs of either parent
- A determination that the gross income of one parent is substantially less than the other parent’s gross income
- The needs of the children of the non-custodial parent for whom the non-custodial parent is providing support who are not subject to the instant action and whose support has not been deducted from income
- Any other factors the court determines are relevant in each case
You are required to pay child support until your child reaches the age of 21. However, support may terminate sooner if your child becomes emancipated by any of the following events:
- Death of the child
- Marriage of the child
- The child obtains employment and is capable of being self-sufficient
- The child joins the military service
- The child leaves the home of the custodial parent
While there is no one set age at which a child can decide which parent they wish to live with, most courts consider that around the age of 14 the child is old enough, mature enough, and intelligent enough to decide where they wish to reside.
Joint Custody vs Sole Custody
When it comes to the custody of your child, there are typically two options – either physical custody or legal custody and both can be sole or joint custody. A lot of people are under the misconception that joint custody means that the time with the child is split 50% between two parties. However, this is not the case. Joint custody allows for both parties to walk away happy with the fact that they didn’t abandon the custody of their child or children. New York courts cannot award joint custody as this custody can only be agreed upon between the two parties involved.
There are cases where a spouse is given sole custody of the child or children but the other spouse, in addition to their visitation rights, is granted other rights such as equal access to school, medical and other records of the children involved, the right to be in attendance at the child’s extracurricular activities, school functions, parent/teacher conferences, and likewise access that, in effect, give the parent with no custody the same rights as they would have as a joint custodian. If you’re looking for sole custody of your child or children, our family attorneys are here to properly represent you through the complicated and contested parts of the divorce, child custody, and child support process.