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Oneida County Law Blog

Wages can be garnished to enforce child support order

While a couple is married in New York, as in other states across the country, both parents contribute to the child's upbringing This includes education, healthcare and other financial needs. However, when the couple divorces and one parent is given primary custody of the child, many may believe this also includes financial obligations but this is not the case. Courts often order child support, which is an ongoing periodic payment from one parent to another to cover the child's financial needs.

Paying child support is very important as it ensures the child is getting the best care possible under the circumstances, similar to what it was before the couple's marriage ended. Therefore, when the parent who is supposed to pay fails to pay child support, there are various steps that can be taken, including getting the individual's wage garnished.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Understanding family law is difficult. When one is right in the middle of a family law issue, he or she will likely find the whole process overwhelming and complicated. Though some legal terms are commonly used, their legal meaning is not clear to a layperson, and understanding them is very important. One of these concepts is child custody.

There are different types of child custody, and they involve the physical and legal custody of the child or children in question. Physical custody is the most common custody factor focused on. When someone has been granted physical custody that means the court has allowed the child to live with that parent. Most states, including New York, prefer awarding joint physical custody, which means the children live with both parents for significant amounts of time. This however, is only possible when both parents plan on living close to each other. Sole custody on the other hand is when the child lives primarily with one parent and the other has limited visitation or custody rights.

Re-evaluating parenting plans for the school year

As we head into the home stretch of summer before school begins again in Utica next month, it's a good idea for divorced parents to review their school year co-parenting schedule.

This is relevant because kids go through a lot of changes in the three months that they are out for summer vacation. Not only do they seem to grow in leaps and bounds, but as they mature, their interests change as well.

What might count as 'income' for child support purposes?

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, parents in New York who are living in separate homes and subject to a paternity or divorce order will have to address issues related to the financial wellbeing of their children. A parent will likely either receive or pay child support, and the amount of that support will depend heavily on each parent's "income."

While income might seem like a straightforward concept that should be relatively uncontroversial, it can often lead to child support disputes, in part because the definition of income is, generally speaking, quite broad. For instance, income not only includes salaries, it also includes things like tips, commissions and other types of compensation that one might not think of as part of his or her regular paycheck. In some circumstances, even the use of the company car or a temporary housing benefit can be considered income. Additionally, a person's income also includes money earned off of investments or profit form one's own business, including rental properties.

Have a strong advocate on your side for child custody issues

Regardless of how long one has been married to their partner, the decision to end the marriage is rarely an easy one for New York residents to make. Separating one's financial and emotional life from another person is a difficult process, and if there are children involved, it can end up being even more difficult. But, once couples make the decision to divorce, they often want to get through it as quickly as possible, so they can move on and try to put their life back together. However, important decisions such as child custody and visitation, as mentioned in last week's blog have to be made and are often contentious, delaying the process.

Since one's relationship with one's children is on the line, it is important to understand the family law issues in play-what are the factors affecting child custody, visitation and support and how does one navigate the legal system. At these times, it is beneficial to have someone well-versed in the law on one's side.

Can grandparents get visitation rights after a divorce?

There is a special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren that not many people can truly understand. Grandchildren turn towards them for advice and guidance and grandparents often provide a sounding board when guidance is needed. But, when the child's parents get a divorce and child custody and visitation plans are finalized, this bond is often overlooked-grandparents are sidelined and this can greatly affect a child who was once very close to their grandparent.

New York is one of the few states that allows grandparents to petition for visitation rights, making it very similar to when a parent petitions for custody or visitation. The petitioning party has to prove their case in court, demonstrating it is in the child's best interests to keep the grandparents in their life.

How long will I receive alimony after my divorce?

Alimony, or maintenance, laws are quite complicated and difficult to understand, given that two different laws apply-one law to divorces commenced before January 25, 2016, and another to divorces commenced post this date. This is because a bill passed in New York changes the landscape of maintenance, removing some factors the court should not consider and including others that it should.

As many are aware, maintenance is awarded to the spouse who earns substantially less than the other. Temporary maintenance is awarded while the divorce is pending when one party petitions the court and asks for it. This ensures the receiving spouse can maintain their lifestyle until a permanent order is granted. It is based strictly on income.

Job loss and child support modifications

You might have been earning a great income throughout the course of your marriage. As such, when a divorce court made its determination on your child support, the amount of your obligation likely reflected your high income. These days, however, financial times are tougher. A lot of New York residents have yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, and you might not be earning the same amount that you were before.

Whether you got laid off and had to take a lower paying job, or your business just isn't earning as much as it used to, you may be able to apply for a child support modification. If successful in your appeal, a New York family law court might rule for the reduction of your monthly child support obligation to make it more affordable.

What laws govern prenups in New York?

Gone are the days where couples shied away from discussing their financial matters before they got married-given today's financial climate, college debts and self-entrepreneurship, people are more and more interested in separating their finances from their spouse's. This is perhaps why the use of prenuptial agreements is on the rise; the practicality of the matter has begun to outweigh the emotional.

Given the increasing trend of prenups, it may come as a surprise to many that New York laws are relatively vague on the subject. All that is stated is that a contract that has been made between people contemplating marriage remains in force after the marriage takes place. This means that the law recognizes prenuptial agreements and, in doing so, takes property division decisions away from the state and into the hands of the couple. The agreement, if valid, will take precedence over the state law.

What are the factors for property division in a New York divorce?

When a New York State couple divorces, there is often confusion as to how their property will be divided. Issues frequently arise surrounding marital property, non-marital property and other factors. Understanding how this will be settled is imperative to a case and can save time, money and the energy that comes from a longstanding dispute.

In some instances, the couple will have an agreement as to how the property will be disposed of beforehand. If this is not the case, then there are certain criteria that must be met regarding the property. If it was separate property, it will remain so. Marital property, however, will be divided in an equal manner between the parties with the circumstances of that property key to its distribution. When deciding how the property will be equitably distributed, the court will take numerous factors into consideration.

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