Under New York law, both parents have the duty to financially provide for
their child until they are reach 21 years of age, or they are emancipated.
How much a parent has to pay in support would be decided according to
the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), the guidelines for this support
in New York. While that may seem straightforward, it only is when both
The sad reality is that many parents try to get out of their responsibility
to their children, and one way they may try to get out of these payments
is by purposefully making themselves unemployed or underemployed. With
lesser income, they think they can get away with lesser payments or no
court-ordered payments at all. But if a judge finds that a parent has
done this, they can "impute income" to them, meaning that they
will order them to make payments based off of the real income they should
have been making. This often is the income that they had in their previous position.
If, for instance, a medical professional who is making $60,000 a year quits
their job and gets a minimum wage position at a fast food chain before
the child support hearing, a judge might have the option to impute income
to that parent, deciding that they willfully chose to leave their job
for a position for which they were overqualified. The judge could then
assign an income of $60,000 to that parent and determine child support
based off of that amount.
So how does a judge decide whether or not to impute income to a parent?
A court will have to examine how much the parent has made before, what
the parent's real earning capacity is, and how much education the
parent has. Then a court will want to determine whether or not the reduced
income was involuntary or not. A judge will also want to see whether or
not a parent has done their absolute best to find the right place to work;
the economy is tough, after all. A judge could not impute income just
because of a tough job market, a medical emergency, or a layoff, etc.
But a parent who is simply in a difficult spot will may have to prove
that it is not on purpose.
If you think the other parent is trying to evade
child support, or you are being faced with a child support hearing and your income has
been reduced through no fault of your own, learn how you can protect you
and your child's rights when you
contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. An experienced and dedicated lawyer from our firm may be able to help
you get a court order that is fair to both you and your child.