When parents of minor children separate, they still have mutual legal and financial obligations to their shared children. Divorced and separated parents in New York typically share parenting time and responsibility for their children. Often, that responsibility takes the form of child support paid by one parent to the other to cover the children’s basic cost-of-living expenses.
Child support can frequently lead to bitter disagreements between parents. Even though everyone wants what is best for their children, they may have very different ideas about what is fair and reasonable regarding the financial support paid by one parent. As a result, how much a parent pays in child support is often a source of tension. People also frequently have differing views about how long they should pay child support.
New York imposes child support for longer than many other states
Although parents in many states can stop paying child support when the children turn 18 or finish high school, parents in New York will have financial responsibility for their children for a more extended period. Currently, the state can require parents to continue paying support until a child turns 21.
Such arrangements benefit those heading off to college and those trying to start a career after high school. However, a few scenarios exist where child support may end before a young adult turns 21.
The first is if the child pursues emancipation. The second is if the child marries. In most cases, an 18 or 19-year-old who gets married would no longer receive direct financial support from their parents, which would mean the end of child support payments. Additionally, children who become self-supporting or join the military may no longer require child support.
Changing circumstances can lead to changing obligations
Just because someone may have many years of child support payments ahead of them does not necessarily mean they will continue paying the same amount indefinitely. New York law permits those paying support and those receiving it to request a modification when circumstances change. The courts can increase child support payments when someone’s income rises, or a child’s needs increase. Courts can also decrease child support if the parent paying experiences a decrease in income.
Learning more about the New York child support system with a legal professional’s assistance can benefit those preparing for a significant shift in their family circumstances.