Child Support: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

When considering child support, what you don’t know can hurt you. Most people know that if they are the residential custodial parent – which basically means the parent who has the child or children more of the time than the other parent – then they are entitled to receive child support.

What they may not know is that child support only covers the basics of the child’s expenses, namely, housing, food and clothing.

In addition, if you have childcare and healthcare expenses for the child, then you can receive additional child support to help you cover those expenses.

There is a long list of expenses that child support doesn’t cover. When getting divorced, you need to take this into account.

One of the largest potential areas of expenses that are not included in basic child support are extracurricular expenses. Extracurricular activities such as athletics, music, art, martial arts, theatre are typically not covered.  Those activities can have the following expenses:

  • Registration fees
  • Equipment
  • Travel expenses
  • Lesson fees
  • Costume fees
  • Competition fees
  • Sneakers or specialized footwear
  • Trainers

Although, surgeries, doctor appointments and prescription medicines are covered under “medical expenses”, the following medical expenses are typically not covered:

  • Vitamins
  • Over-the-counter medicines (for example: Aspirin, Advil or Ibuprofen, Tylenol or Acetaminophen)
  • Dietary alternatives
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Acne products

Childcare expenses will be shared between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent (typically with each parent paying their pro-rata share).  In a similar fashion, if camp is a substitute for childcare, then the camp expenses will also be shared between the parents. However, typically only the basic fee to attend the camp will be covered, and any extra fees will not be covered.

In addition to all of the above, there are many expenses that are not covered, for example: (i) child’s cell phones; (ii) child’s computers; (iii) prom dresses or tuxedos; (iv) yearbooks; (v) gifts to teachers; (vi) class trips, to name just a few.

As you can see, what you may not know about child support, can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year. If you are getting divorced and need more information about child support or any other issue involved in your divorce, then call David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals with questions about child support expenses and basic child support.

Contact the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.The Badanes Law Office has two offices in Long Island: Northport and Uniondale.

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Child Support Extended For Special Needs Children

New York has now passed a new law that allows a parent of a Special Needs child to petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26 years old.  Prior to this new law, child support was only available to all children, regardless of whether they had special needs, up to the age of 21 years of age.

However, the extension of child support after 21 years of age is not automatic.  In order to received child support, up to 26 years of age, you must petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26.

Furthermore, to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The petition must be filed by the custodial parent or caregiver of a developmentally disabled child
  • The disabled child must be principally dependent on the parent and must reside with the parent
  • The child must be diagnosed by a doctor or medical professional that states the child has a developmental disability

The law defines developmental disability as:

  1. The disability must have originated before the child became 22 years old;
  2. The disability is continuing or can be expected to continue indefinitely; and
  3. The disability is a substantial handicap to the child’s ability to function normally in society.

The Court’s determination on how much child support to award is different from how a Court determines child support for a child under the age of 21 years of age.  Here, the Court has more discretion in the amount of child support to award and it is based on these factors:

First, it must find that the child has a developmental disability. Second, the Court can use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age. Or, Third, the Court can determine whether the financial responsibility of caring for the disabled child has been unreasonably placed on the caregiving parent.

Since the law is so new, at this time, there isn’t much guidance on how Courts will actually determine the amount of child support to award.  However, it is likely that most Courts will simply use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age.

The law is also retroactive, in the sense that if you already have a child support order and you have a child who qualifies under the law, you can go back to Court to extend the support order until the child is 26 years of age.

Another difference with this law, as compared to child support awards for children under 21 years of age, is how payments are to be made.  The Court has two options: (i) payments can be made directly to the parent/caregiver; or (ii) payments can be made to an “exception trust”, this is a trust that is set up to care for the disabled child.

This new law recognizes that parents of special needs children have extraordinary expenses, expenses that exist after a child turns 21 years of age.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have represented many parents with special needs children.  This new law now allows child support to be extended until the child turns 26 years of age.

If you are seeking a divorce or want to extend your child support award, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: https://www.dbnylaw.com/.

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Children’s Sports Participation After Divorce

Divorce is an already complicated process that can get even more complex when the case at hand involves children. There are many elements to discuss when it comes to children that should be included in the official divorce agreement. One important aspect that cannot be overlooked is a discussion about the children’s participation in activities such as sports. Children often deeply care about sports, and since these activities require money, scheduling, and transportation, it is a topic that is necessary to discuss in a divorce agreement.

Mr. David Badanes Esq. of Badanes Law Office on Long Island has shared what should be discussed in a divorce agreement between parents of a child who participates in sports.

  • Payment: Parents should discuss and decide who will pay for registration fees, who will pay for equipment (shoes, pads, uniforms, etc.) and who will pay for travel expenses. These expenses may recur every month, season and/or year, so a payment plan should be outlined in the agreement.
  • Transportation: When children participate in sports, they commit to attending practice, home games and away games. Divorced parents need to arrange who will transport the child to all these events, especially games that are out-of-town.
  • Participation: Divorced parents should agree upon how many sports the children are allowed to participate in at a given time. Scheduling is an important factor to consider when looking into the time your child has available to put aside for sports.

In addition to ensuring these necessary elements are a part of the divorce agreement, divorced parents should also strive to put the needs of the children first at sports events and put their own personal issues aside. Mr. David Badanes Esq. recommends divorced parents of children in sports heed these specific reminders.

  • Both parents can attend sporting events. Even if the child has parenting time with a specific parent during the time of a sports activity, both parents can still attend the event. A custody schedule does not prohibit parents from seeing their child at sports games.
  • Let the child choose. When it comes to which sports the child participates in, it should always be the child’s choice. The type of sports the child participates in should not be according to what a parent wants. Though a parent may be extremely passionate about a specific sport, children’s interests often change day by day—a child may want to play basketball one day and soccer the next.
  • You are there to cheer on your child. Your child’s sports event is not the place to discuss anything about the divorce or post-divorce issues. While attending the event, refrain from fighting with your ex-spouse. Instead focus your attention to your child playing his/her game.

If your child participates in sports, it is vital the divorce agreement determines all issues involved in the child’s sports participation. This will allow for a smoother transition for not only the parents, but most importantly the children who will inevitably feel the stress of the divorce as well.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. provides real-world advice to help you through this challenging time. If you are contemplating getting a divorce, and need an attorney to represent you, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today 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, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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What Is Temporary or Pendente Lite Child Support and Other Temporary Rulings In A Divorce?

You may have heard the term “pendente lite” child support or “pendente lite” spousal maintenance.  What do those terms mean?

Since a divorce can take months and sometimes years, before the Court makes a final ruling on your divorce, the Court may make other decisions or rulings while the divorce is pending.

The term “pendente lite” is a Latin term meaning “pending litigation” or in legal terms until the divorce is final, this is the Court’s decision or ruling. In laymen’s terms, a “pendente lite” ruling, means a temporary ruling that stands until the Court makes another decision. Once the Court issues its final divorce decree, in virtually all situations, a “pendente lite” decision becomes null and void.

The two most common uses of a “pendente lite” ruling are “pendente lite child support” and “pendente spousal maintenance” rulings.

A “pendente lite child support” decision is where the Court will make one parent pay child support to the other parent. When making a “pendente lite child support” decision, the Court typically has much less information than it would have if there was a trial. Once the Court issues a pendente lite child support order, it is binding.

Similarly, a “pendente lite spousal maintenance” order is where the Court will make one spouse make temporary spousal maintenance (alimony) payments to the other parent.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you need an attorney who can explain the divorce process to you in simple ordinary language. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in getting their divorce. You can contact David Badanes 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, Suffolk County and Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Paying for Tutors, Sports and Other Extracurricular Activities

If you have children and are getting divorced, you probably know that the custodial parent is entitled to child support.  However, child support only covers the basics of (i) food; (ii) shelter; and (iii) clothing.  Basic child support does not pay for education expenses, such as tutors.  It also does not pay for a child’s sports, dance, martial arts, music or any other extracurricular activities.

As most parents know, tutors, sports and extracurricular activities can be add up to be a significant expense.  In New York, there is no explicit obligation that the non-custodial parent pay for these expenses.  The default rule is that the parent receiving child support would be expected to pay for tutor, sports and extracurricular activities.  If you want to make sure that you receive payment for these expenses, it is important that your divorce agreement explicitly states who will pay for these expenses and how much they will pay.

If you are the non-custodial parent, you want to make sure that if you are to pay for these expenses, that the agreement is clear on what you have to pay for and how much.

There are many different ways to structure the payment for a child’s activities.  For example: (i) each parent can pay 50% of these expenses; or (ii) each parent pays their pro-rata share (meaning their percentage of the overall income).  Furthermore, you should also have a maximum amount that you will pay for a particular activity.  Here, your divorce agreement could state, as an example that: (i) you will pay 50% of all activities up to a yearly maximum of “X” dollars; or (ii) you will pay 50% for all tutors up to a yearly maximum of “X” dollars, but will not pay for any other extracurricular activities.

Your divorce agreement should also be clear that you will only pay for activities until the child graduates high school.  Otherwise, you might have to pay for these activities while the child is in college.

It is important to know, that if your divorce agreement does not explicitly state who will pay for educational expenses (tutors), sports or extracurricular activities, then the custodial parent will most likely have to pay 100% of those expenses.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have drafted divorce agreements with provisions for tutors, sports and extracurricular activities.  David Badanes makes sure that the divorce agreement is clear, so that both parties understand their obligations.

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

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Child Support, Child Custody and Parenting Time in Mediation

Some divorcing couples choose to use mediation when resolving their divorce. For couples who can compromise, mediation may be a good alternative. In many divorces, child support, child custody, and parenting time issues are the most contentious issues. Those issues can also be resolved in mediation.

If you choose to use mediation, then this is how issues surrounding children can be resolved:
Child Support: In New York, there is a child support formula. However, with mediation (and also in a contested divorce), you can choose to modify the amount that the formula calculates. There are many reasons why you might want to modify the amount of child support. Some examples: (i) perhaps one spouse will pay the mortgage instead of child support; (ii) you might receive more in retirement assets: (iii) you might receive more in personal property; and (iv) because each parent has more parenting time, that might be a reason for less child support.

Child Custody: One of the best uses of mediation is in the area of child custody (and parenting time). Mediation allows the parents to be very creative with how to determine the issues of decision making and custody.

Parenting Time: Similar to child custody, mediation allows a lot of flexibility when it comes to parenting time. With mediation, parents can arrange their parenting time that fits their schedule and the children’s schedule.

As with any divorce agreement, it is important that in mediation the written agreement is clear and specific. If you choose to use mediation, make sure that the mediator actually drafts the final divorce agreement. Some mediators will only draft a summary or a “memorandum of agreement”, which is not a full blown divorce agreement.

Although mediation can be a good option, there are situations where mediation is not appropriate. For mediation to succeed, both parents have to be: (1) willing to compromise; (2) be able to talk in a civil and respectful manner to each other; (3) be able to listen to the other parent’s opinions and points of view; (4) ready to get divorced; and (5) willing to present fair and realistic options.

In addition to being an attorney, David Badanes, Esq. is also a mediator. Mr. Badanes has conducted numerous successful mediations. If you are seeking mediation, then contact David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit us on Facebook to get important legal news, tips and articles: www.facebook.com/BadanesLawOffice.

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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