Do We Have To Split Our Child’s Medical Bills Or Does Child Support Cover That?

You are divorced (or have a child in common with the child’s parent), and you have a medical bill (due to a co-pay or a deductible). Does child support cover that?

Unreimbursed medical expenses are paid pro-rata and are separate and apart from child support payments. This means that the person paying for child support will pay both child support and a portion of the medical expenses.

The term “pro-rata”, means that each parent will pay their proportional share of the medical expenses based on their yearly income. For example, if one parent earns $100,000 and the other parent earns $50,000, then the parent earning $100,000 would pay 2/3 (two-thirds) and the other parent would 1/3 (one-third) of the medical bills. If both parents earn the same income, then each parent would pay 50% of the medical expenses.

Typically, the non-custodial parent does not have to pay for cosmetic medical expenses or for over-the-counter medicines.

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How To Deal With An Ex-Spouse (Or The Other Parent) That Isn’t Paying Child Support

If your ex-spouse (or the other parent) isn’t paying child support, here is what you can do.

First, if you do not already have a child support order, then get one.  Typically, you can obtain a child support order by filing a petition in Family Court.  If you are the custodial parent, then the Family Court should be able to issue a child support order for you.

Second, when obtaining your child support order, you can have the Support Collection Unit (also known as the Child Support Enforcement Bureau) collect your child support for you.  If you already have a child support order, you can request that the Support Collection Unit now collect the child support for you.  The Support Collection Unit can help you collect your child support for you. 

Third, you can file a petition in Child Support stating that your ex-spouse is not paying his/her child support.  By taking your ex-spouse to court, for failing to pay child support, they face serious penalties.  By issuing these penalties, the goal is for your ex-spouse to start paying child support.

The Court can order the following penalties against the payor:

  1. Garnish the person’s wages.  If the person receives any type of pay check, from an employer, the Court can garnish the person’s wages and you will then receive your child support.  If the person works “off-the-books”, then most likely, the Court will not be able to garnish the person’s wages.
  2. Suspension of the person’s driver’s license;
  3. Suspension of any professional or other licenses.  If you have a license to operate a business, the court can suspend your license;
  4. Take any part of any future tax refunds; and/or
  5. Order jail time.

If your ex-spouse is not paying you child support, there are many steps you can take to try to get your ex-spouse to pay you.  If you need help in getting paid, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, PC.  Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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Do I Have To Pay For My Child’s College Education?

Whether or not you have to pay for your child’s college education depends on several factors.  If the Court decides the issue, they will consider whether the “best interests” of the child require you to pay for the child’s college education.  The Court will consider the following factors:

  1. Did you or your spouse attend college? If the answer is yes, for either parent, then it is very likely that you will have to pay for your child’s college education.
  2. Does the child have the academic ability or have other attributes (sports, music), which make going to college an advantage for the child?  If the answer is yes, then it is likely that you will have to pay for your child’s college education.
  3. Do you or your spouse have the financial ability (with loans, if necessary) to send your child to college? If the answer is yes, then it is likely that you will have to pay for your child’s college education.

Parents can also voluntarily enter into an agreement regarding whether or not they will pay for their child’s education.  If you decide that you do not want to pay for your child’s education and put that into a proper written agreement, then that will be binding.  Of course, the opposite is true as well.  If you agree to pay for your child’s education, and then decide later on that you do not want to pay for it, you will have to abide by your earlier decision to pay for college.

  1. If you decide to enter into an agreement whereby you agree to pay for your child’s education, then you need to consider the details of that agreement.  For example:
  2. Will you pay for just tuition or for tuition, fees, books, room and board, etc.? Your agreement should specify exactly what you will pay for.
  3. Will you pay for four years of undergraduate college or for how many years it takes to receive an undergraduate degree (some students take more than four years)?
  4. Will you pay for graduate school?
  5. Will you decide the maximum amount that you are obligated to pay?  In New York, most agreements state that the maximum obligation is the cost to attend a State University.
  6. How much you will pay and how much your spouse will pay.

If you need an attorney to help you in your divorce or issues involving child support, including, the payment of your child’s college, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes has helped countless clients in Suffolk County and Nassau County in obtaining their divorce.  Call the Badanes Law Office today at: 631-239-1702, email us at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport (Suffolk County) and in Garden City (Nassau County).

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Retroactive Child Support In New York

You are eligible for retroactive child support for the period of time from the date that you file a petition (request) for child support until the time the Court issues an Order for child support.  It is important to note, that you MUST file a petition, summons or some formal request with the court system in order to receive retroactive child support.

You will not be able to receive retroactive child support for any period of time prior to the date that you file your petition.  So, in other words, if the other parent and you have separated, but, you have not file a petition for child support, then you will not be eligible for child support for the time between separation and the time that you filed your petition.

This is why it is important to file a petition for child support as soon as you are separated.  If you are married, you can file for child support without filing for divorce.  Even if you believe that you will eventually file for divorce, you can first file for child support and then file for divorce.

If you have questions about child support or need to file for retroactive child support, then call or contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can be contacted at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Nassau County.

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What You Should Know About A Sperm Donor Agreement

Many women will use a sperm donor (artificial insemination) to have a child. There can be two types of sperm donors; (1) an anonymous donor; or (2) a donor that you know. If an anonymous donor is used, then there usually does not need to be a sperm donor agreement or the sperm bank will provide a general release form. However, if your sperm donor is someone that you know, then it is extremely important to have a Sperm Donor Agreement.

A Sperm Donor Agreement is a contract between you and the person who is donating their sperm.  The Sperm Donor Agreement will address the following:

  1. What is the child support or financial responsibilities of the Sperm Donor? In other words, will the Sperm Donor have any obligation to pay child support or any other type of financial responsibilities to the child or to the birth mother?
  1. What parental rights will the Sperm Donor have? Will the Sperm Donor be considered a joint custodial parent? Will the Sperm Donor have visitation rights with the child?
  1. Will the child know who the Sperm Donor is? If the answer to this question is going to be yes, which it usually is, then will
  1. Will the child be able to meet the Sperm Donor?
  1. Related to question #3, what will the Sperm Donor’s relationship to the child be? If the Sperm Donor was a “friend”, then that friend may still be in the mother’s life, which means that he will be in the child’s life.  Even if the Sperm Donor is not a friend, then he may want to have some type of relationship with the child.

These are just some of the issues that a Sperm Donor Agreement will cover. It is important to know, that even with the best Sperm Donor Agreement, either party could challenge it in Court. That doesn’t mean that the Agreement will be invalid, it just means that anyone can go to Court to try to change the Agreement.

If you are thinking of using a sperm donor to conceive a child, then it is imperative that you have a Sperm Donor Agreement. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can draft your Sperm Donor Agreement to make sure that you are protected and that you know your rights.

The Badanes Law Office, P.C. and David Badanes can be reached at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and in Nassau County.

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Five Common Questions And Answers About Child Support In New York

If you have children, you are obligated to support them.  If you are getting divorced, or have children out-of-wedlock, you still are obligated to support them, but, now it will be through a formal child support order.

The following are five common questions that I am often asked about child support.

Question:  What if I lose my job and can’t pay my child support obligation?

Answer:  You may be able to get a reduction in your child support obligation. I stress the word “may”, as you cannot unilaterally decide to pay less child support. You have to go back to Court and ask for a modification of your child support. In general terms, you will have to show three things: (i) you lost your job involuntarily and not do to your misdeeds or actions; (ii) you are looking to replace your income by searching for jobs that are compatible with your skills or career: and (iii) you have documentation showing that you are diligently searching for a new job.

Question:  How can I be sure my child support is being used for my children’s benefit?

Answer:  You can’t be 100% sure that the child support that you paid will be used for the children’s benefit. Once child support is paid, there is no obligation for the person receiving the support to account for its use. The person receiving the money can use the money for almost anything. However, upon receiving child support, the custodial parent does have an obligation to support the children and to pay for the children’s basic expenses.

Question: What expenses are covered by child support?

Answer: At a minimum, child support is intended to cover the child’s shelter (housing), clothing and food expenses. It is also meant to cover all of the other expenses of the child. However, there are certain add-ons that can be the subject of additional payments: health insurance, health care, child care and in some cases, college expenses.

Question: When does child support end?

Answer: In New York, child support ends at 21 years of age. For children under 21, there are some exceptions to this rule that would end child support before they turn 21 years of age. Some examples: if the child enters the military, if the child marries and lives with their spouse.

Question: Are my child support payments tax deductible?

Answer: Child support payments are not tax deductible and are not counted as income to the person receiving the support.

If you need more information about child support, then call David Badanes, Esq. at the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  Mr. Badanes has helped numerous clients understand their child support obligations or how much child support they should be receiving.

Call us today to set up a consultation at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office, P.C. has offices in Northport, Suffolk County and Garden City, Nassau County.

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Divorce And College Financial Aid: FAFSA Tips For Divorced Or Separated Parents

College: As many parents know, college is expensive and financial aid can be difficult to obtain.  If you are getting divorced or you are already divorced, this just adds another level of complexity to the college financial aid maze. Here are some tips that will help you navigate this maze.

#1 Make sure to Fill Out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as early as possible and correctly. In almost every college, you need to fill out the FAFSA to be considered for any type of financial aid, including, grants, loans, scholarships and work-study programs. It is important to fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible. It is doubly-important to make sure that the form is filled out correctly. If you have trouble filling out the FAFSA form, there are resources and agencies that can help. You may also want to ask your child’s school if they have any resources to help parents fill out the FAFSA form.

#2 Which parent to put down on the FAFSA form. There are a few scenarios in deciding which parent to list on the FAFSA form.

  • Parents are divorce or separated and do not live together: Then you only list the custodial parent’s income on the form. As it pertains to the FAFSA form, the custodial parent MAY be different than what the divorce agreement states. For purposes of FAFSA, the custodial parent is the one that the child live with most in the last 12 months.
  • Parents are divorced or separated, but, they still live together. Here, you have to list both parent’s income on the form.
  • Parents are divorced, do not live together, and the custodial parent is now remarried. You have to list your step-parent’s income as well as the custodial parent on the form.
  • Always double-check with the Department of Education on their latest rules. The Department of Education may change its rules. They also have some good tools in helping you complete the form.

#3 Child Support versus Alimony (spousal maintenance). You have to state how much child support the custodial parent either received or paid on the FAFSA form. However, you do not have to state how much alimony you received or paid, that is because alimony is already included (or deducted) from your taxable income and is already on the FAFSA form. Do not make the common mistake of listing both child support and alimony.

#4 Recent Divorce and lead to trouble. If the divorce is recent, then this may lead to a FAFSA error. If the newly divorced parents filed a joint tax return in the last tax year, then the tax information will not reflect the fact that they are now divorced and they have separate incomes. In these situations, it is especially important to consult with a financial aid expert to make sure that the FAFSA form is correctly filled out.

David Badanes, Esq. has the knowledge and resource to help you get through divorce and the college financial maze. If you are thinking of getting divorced, contact the Badanes Law Office.  Call 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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If Getting Divorced, Who Pays For Sports And Other Extracurricular Activities?

Many children participate in either a sport or an extracurricular activity. Some activities cost more than others.  If you are getting divorced, who pays for the children’s extracurricular activities?

There is no statute that states who pays for a child’s extracurricular activities. Therefore, the default rule is that the parent receiving child support would be expected to pay for these activities. This means that if you are receiving child support, and your child incurs extracurricular expenses, you may be stuck with paying for those activities. This is why it is important that your divorce agreement considers who will pay for a child’s activities.

There are many different ways to structure the payment for a child’s activities. You can state that each parent will pay 50% or that each parent will pay their pro-rata share (meaning in the percentage of their income).

You can also limit the amount of activities you will pay for. In some agreements, it will state that you are only obligated to pay for one activity at a time or in a certain season. In other agreements, the amount you pay is limited by a cap. For example, you will pay 50% of all activities up to a maximum amount of “X” dollars. Some agreements state that both parents have to agree to the activity, before payment is due.

The important thing to remember, is that if your divorce agreement does not explicitly state who will pay for extracurricular activities or sports, then the custodial parent will most likely have to pay 100% of those expenses.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals with divorces and in representing their clients in making sure their divorce agreements are fair and cover extracurricular expenses. If you need an attorney to represent you in your divorce, call the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email me at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.

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What To Do If You Are Served With A Child Support Petition?

In New York State, you are obligated to support your children, it doesn’t matter if you are married or not. If one parent is not supporting their children or if you want a formal child support order, that is obtained through Family Court. The parent who wants child support, will file a “child support petition.”

If you are served with a child support petition, you need to know what to do and how to respond.

The petition will state the date, time and place where the petition will be heard. You need to appear on that date and time. If, there is an emergency or a valid reason why you cannot appear, then you need to make sure that you can get an adjournment of the court date. In those instances, it is extremely important to have an attorney appear for you to explain why you cannot appear on that date. If you simply do not appear, then the court can make a default ruling against you, which could seriously affect your rights and how much you have to pay in child support.

You will need to provide financial information and financial documents. Typically, you will need to provide: (1) your last year’s W-2 statement; (2) your most recent Federal and State income tax return; and (3) a recent paystub. You may also have to provide recent bank statements. It is important to have copies of these documents ready for the court and to have a copy for the petitioner.

If your income has recently declined, you will need to prove evidence of how much it has declined and why it has declined.

If child custody has not been officially established, you may to want to file a petition for child custody.

If you believe the child is not yours and you have not been acting as the father, then you may want to request a paternity test.

You have a right to present evidence and a hearing.  Therefore, there typically will be at least two court dates.

If you want legal advice on how to respond to a child support petition, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office. David Badanes has helped numerous clients in their child support petitions.

If you need an experienced child support attorney, please contact the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email David Badanes, Esq. at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport (Suffolk County office) and Garden City (Nassau County office).

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Child’s Social Security Disability Benefits And Child Support

There are several situations where a child, under the age of 18, will receive social security benefits.  Typically, children receive benefits if one (or both) of their parents are disabled, retired, or deceased.

It is important to note that when calculating the child support obligation, the parent’s income will include his or her own Social Security benefits, but, it does not include the Social Security benefits paid to the dependent child (or children). It is also important to know that Social Security payments to dependent children do not reduce the disabled parent’s benefits.

The child’s receipt of social security benefits does not affect the amount of child support payments that the non-custodial parent has to pay. Therefore, if you are obligated to pay child support, the amount of social security benefits the child receives will not reduce your child support obligation. Similarly, if you are receiving child support, the fact that your child collects social security benefits will not reduce the amount of child support you are entitled to receive.

The reason for this is that Social Security benefits are designed to supplement the child’s existing financial resources, they are not intended to displace the obligation of the parent to support their children. It has been stated that if the children’s parents were still married or living together, the children would have enjoyed a standard of living based on both parents’ income plus the Social Security benefits they will receive.

If you have questions concerning your rights to receive child support or what your child support obligation is, the Badanes Law Office and David Badanes can help you. The Badanes Law Office represents clients in Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County).

If you need an attorney, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.  The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport, Garden City, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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