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Resolving disputes creatively

Deciding on the child support amount in a New York court-Part II

Divorce is rarely easy. Yet, New York parents continue to dissolve their marriage and, oftentimes, struggle to make ends meet. Child support, however, is one financial option for custodial parents, allowing them to better care for their children.

However, the process often hits a speed bump right out of the gate when the legal father does not appear in court. When this happens, the court may declare that the father will still have a responsibility to pay child support. The judge will then decide on the amount of child support owed without knowing the earnings of the parent. When a father is not present in court, everything will be done without the father knowing the exact amount of child support, and he may be surprised when he is later hit with collection action.

If the child support is more than what the non-custodial father can pay, he will need to appear in court to say so. If the father is absent, he will not be able to explain that the child support payment ordered is more than what he can afford, and, once the order is finalized, the father will have to pay the child support. If he does not voluntarily pay his obligation, child support may be withheld from paychecks and tax returns.

Those who are seeking child support or would like a modification of a child support order may wish to speak with a qualified attorney. Those experienced at handling these matters may be able to advise and guide a parent in a way that leads to a favorable outcome that is fair for all parties involved, including the child.

Source: New York Division of Child Support Enforcement, "Noncustodial Parent Information," accessed on Aug. 22, 2015

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