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.

Child Support Arrears Can Lead to a Driver’s License Suspension

If you are in arrears in your child support payments, then you may face having your driver’s license suspended. In fact, if you are in arrears in your child support payments, then several other types of licenses can be suspended including:

  • Business licenses
  • Contractor licenses
  • Professional licenses (doctor, lawyer, accountant)
  • Occupational licenses
  • Boating licenses
  • Hunting licenses
  • Fishing licenses

In order for your licenses to be suspended or revoked, you would need to be at least four months in child support arrears. However, prior to having any license suspended or revoked, there needs to be a hearing. At that time, you would have the opportunity to either pay all your arrears or perhaps enter into a payment plan to pay your arrears.

It should also be noted, that if your driver’s license is suspended, you may be eligible to receive a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to only drive to and from your place of employment.

It is clear, that you should pay all your child support obligations. If you are in danger of falling behind in your child support payments, then you need to be proactive and contact an attorney to avoid having your licenses suspended.

If you need an attorney to help you with child support issues, then contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com.

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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 Handle An Ex-Spouse That Does Not Abide By The Divorce Agreement

A divorce agreement issued by the court is a legally binding contract. As such, if either party refuses to follow the divorce agreement, you have a few options on how to handle this situation.

  1. You can have your attorney (or you can do this yourself), send a letter outlining exactly how your ex-spouse is not following the divorce agreement (in other words, how they are in breach of the agreement). Depending on what your divorce agreement states, you may have to give your ex-spouse a certain number of days to rectify their breach.
  2. If your ex-spouse ignores your letter or does not fully rectify their breach, then you will have to file a Motion or an Order to Show Cause to the Court. The Motion (or Order to Show Cause) will state that your ex-spouse is in breach and what you are seeking. In many situations, you may be able to request your attorney’s fees.
  3. You may also ask the Court for a finding of “contempt” and that your ex-spouse should be incarcerated. If your ex-spouse is found to willfully breach the divorce agreement, and the Court believes the breach is serious enough, they could order that your ex-spouse be incarcerated.

In general terms, these are the most common examples of how an ex-spouse breaches a divorce agreement:

  • Failure to pay Child Support: The Court treats the failure to pay child support very seriously. If your ex-spouse is not paying you child support, you should immediately go to court to seek relief.
  • Failure to pay Spousal Maintenance (alimony): Similar to not paying child support, the Court will treat this very seriously.
  • Failure to follow the parenting time arrangements: Unlike the failure to pay child support or spousal maintenance, here the Court will be more lenient.
  • It is important to note that just because your ex-spouse doesn’t pay child support, this does not mean that you can prevent your child from visiting your ex-spouse.

Divorce can present many challenges, even after the divorce is finalized. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. can help you and will answer all your questions about the divorce process. 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 Uniondale, Nassau County.

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Five Things You Should Not Do In A Child Custody Battle

If you are seeking custody of your child and are involved in a child custody dispute (battle), there are some things you can do to help you and some things you should not do.

Here are five things you SHOULD NOT do in a Child Custody battle.

  1. Using your child as a pawn. Do not use your child as a “pawn” in the battle. For example, despite what your ex may be doing, he/she still has a right to see the child and have parenting time with the child. Typically, the only time you should withhold the child from the other parent, is if there is an Order of Protection, the child is very sick, or for some other emergency reason.
  2. Making false accusations. If you make a false accusation, against the other parent, this will seriously hurt your chances of gaining custody. The courts will not tolerate false accusations and this can be the only reason for a court to deny you custody.
  3. Not communicating with the other parent. In a divorce, or a child custody situation, it takes two parents to parent the child. You will need to communicate with the other parent. If you fail to communicate, the court can view you as hindering the other parent’s ability to parent.
  4. Stating negative things about the other parent. Whether it is on Facebook or other social media sites, or worse yet, to the child, you should not state anything negative about the other parent. If the other parent can show that you have posted negative information about him/her (even if true) or have stated negative information about him/her to the child, the court will hold this against you.
  5. Not paying child support. Although, technically, the Court is not supposed to use the payment or non-payment of child support against you, Judges are human. The failure of not paying child support, will be looked upon as a negative factor.

When you are seeking child custody, you need to avoid any mistakes or negative actions.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. have helped numerous clients in obtaining child custody. If you are seeking child custody or a divorce, then 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 Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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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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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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Can I Reduce My Child Support Payment Due to Unemployment? Video

Thank you for joining me. My name is David Badanes. I concentrate in Matrimonial and Family Law, with offices in Northport and Garden City. Today, I am going to answer the following question: Can I reduce my child support payment due to unemployment?

If you have a child support order and you lose your job or your income gets reduced. You may ask, can your child support obligation be reduced? The answer is maybe. You have to prove two things. One, that you lose your job not due to your own fault but that the company was laying off you and maybe some other people not due to your own fault. Second hurdle, you have to show that you’re actively looking for employment and to replace the income you have.

So just because you lost your job or have reduced income does not automatically mean that your child support obligation will be reduced. You have to prove to the court that you should be paying less in child support.

You must see an experienced Long Island attorney if you lose your job and you’re paying child support and you want to pay less. You cannot just simply do it on your own and pay less child support because you lost your job or your income get reduced.