If you are the parent of a child born out of wedlock, the first step is to establish paternity. This must be done prior to the Court being able to address issues of child support, custody or visitation. This process is generally handled in the Family Court.
Whether you have been served with a paternity petition, or seeking to establish paternity, you will need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent your interests from the start. There may be critical legal arguments that must be made early in your case that can affect the outcome. We have the experience and knowledge to guide you throughout every aspect of your case from filing the necessary petitions, to handling court appearances and a hearing, if necessary.
When parents divorce, fathers sometimes have a difficult time getting visitation or custody. In New York State, fathers have the right to an ongoing relationship with their children. In addition, non-custodial fathers have the right to reasonable child support obligations and putative fathers have the right to establish a relationship with their children despite not being married to the mother.
As of 2010, New York does not have a law regarding the rights of putative fathers –– fathers who are not married to the mother of their children. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that putative fathers have parental rights if they have a substantial relationship with their offspring. Parental rights in this case include the right to object if the mother puts the child up for adoption and the right to visitation. Any father who is not married to his children's mother should have a paternity test to prove that he is the biological parent to avoid confusion regarding this issue.
Child and spousal support are critical issues that are frequently handled in Family Court. Regardless of whether you are married or unmarried with a child in common, the Family Court has jurisdiction to handle your child support matter. For married persons, the Family Court has the jurisdiction to hear your spousal support issue as well. As these are sensitive financial matters that will dramatically impact your life, you will need an aggressive attorney that knows the system. Zimmer & Associates are those attorneys that can handle your case with the attention and dedication to your interests that is deserved.
For more than 14 years, our firm has built a reputation for aggressive advocacy that yields positive results in support cases. Clients trust our firm because we consistently achieve results for our clients. We have handled thousands of maintenance and child support cases. Our experience and know-how to work with both sides of these issues, advocating for payers and recipients of support will make you confident that you have made the right choice.
In addition, you can be confident in knowing that our firm has won child support reductions and alimony terminations for people who have lost income because of disabilities, layoffs or downturns in their business. We have a successful record of winning increases in child support and spousal maintenance where a party had falsely reported a low income. We use aggressive legal tactics by investigating undisclosed business income or unreported cash earnings. We have contacts throughout the investigative community to find the truth no matter how diligently someone has tried to hide their tracks.
As a member of Suffolk County's Modest Means Panel, we have won numerous cases for poor and indigent spouses living below the poverty line who have been oppressed by the moneyed spouse.
Child support through Family Court is a relatively fast and streamlined process. Same as Supreme Court (sometimes referred to as Divorce Court), the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) provides strict guidelines for calculating child support based on percentages of the non-custodial parent's income. Income is defined by New York law and can include monies from a number of categories. Once income is deduced, child support is determined by calculating the combined gross income of the parents, after deducting from each parent's income the amounts he or she actually paid for Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. The child support percentages are:
7% for one child.
25% for two children.
29% for three children.
31% for four children.
No less than 35% for five or more children.
For those with an income exceeding $136,000 annually, the Court will decide whether or not to use the guidelines and may consider additional factors in calculating child support. The goal of the Court is to ensure that the child's basic necessities are being provided for.
It is essential to have an attorney who can properly advocate for the proper amount of child support. In some cases, it is harder to determine the actual income of a parent, especially in situations in which the non-custodial parent owns a business or works "off the books." We have the knowledge and the experience necessary to ensure you obtain the proper amount of support.
The law assumes that basic child support payments cover your child's needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, the non-custodial parent is not entitled to an accounting nor do they have any authority to tell the receiving parent how to spend the money.
In addition to basic child support, child support does not include other expenses such as daycare/child care expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, or the cost of health insurance premiums and in some cases educational expenses.