Matrimonial and Family Law

Glenn S. Forstner Associate

Child Support and Maintenance (Alimony)

Support Awards – One of the most important issues is financial security for the parties and their children during a divorce action and after a divorce is granted.

When determining child support, New York State law mandates that parents must support their children until age 21, and the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) has been enacted by the legislature to provide guidelines to be utilized by the Courts and family law attorneys to provide guidelines in determining the amount of child support to be paid.  However, beyond age 21, private agreements are required for any continued support, including paying the expenses for college.

In addition to child support, the “moneyed spouse”, or that spouse who has greater income, may be required to pay spousal support or maintenance, previously referred to as alimony, to the other party.  While the legislature recently enacted a statute to be used in determining temporary maintenance awards (i.e., those in place during a divorce action), there is no corresponding statute as of yet for a final maintenance award.  Consequently, maintenance or spousal support after a divorce is based upon several factors, including the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage, the income and assets of the parties and the recipient spouse’s ability to be self-supporting.

Enforcement – Once child support and/or maintenance awards are granted, whether by agreement of the parties or by order of the Court, if the payor spouse refuses to comply with their Court-ordered obligations, the payee spouse has numerous legal remedies to enforce a support order, including the entry of a money judgment, garnishment of wages or assets, suspension or loss of a license, and, in severe cases, an adjudication of contempt of court.

Modification – There are times when, after a divorce, a party’s financial circumstances dramatically change, which make it impossible to pay a Court-ordered support obligations.  In these cases involving involuntary loss of employment (because of health issues or other financial crises), an application may be made to request modification of support obligations, to conform to the new, changed financial circumstances of the parties.

Our Family Law attorneys are experienced in dealing with all aspects of these and other support issues in both the Supreme Court and Family Court, and we will insure that the support awards you pay or receive are proper and just.