When Do I Have to Start Paying Child Support?

Paying Child Support on Long Island

child support long islandYou have made the decision to get divorced.  You’ve hired an attorney, filled out net worth statements and sat through countless meetings.  The Judge hears your case grants you a divorce. You immediately find out you’re 12 months behind in child support payments and you’ve only been divorced for ten minutes….what happened!?!

Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) §236B7 happened.  It states that “…such order shall be effective as of the date of the application therfor, and any retroactive amount of child support due shall be paid in one sum or periodic sums, as the court shall direct, taking into account any amount of temporary child support which had been paid.”  Or in other words, you are liable for child support as of the day the application was served.  So, your spouse filed for divorce and you were served with papers on February 1, 2011.  Your divorce was finalized February 1, 2012.  As of February 1, 2012, you are in arrears for 12 months of child support.

long island child support

Make sure to keep records of everything during your divorce.

In calculating any back child support that is due, the court will take into account any temporary support payments that you made pending the divorce.  Thus, if you are in arrears $10,000.00 and you are able to show that you have been paying child support every month for a total of $8,000.00, you are in arrears $2,000.00.  What if you over pay?  Your children will be appreciative however, you will not get a credit.  In other words, child support for the year is $10,000.00 and you can show you paid $12,000.00, your spouse is not liable to refund you the difference.

Your back child support must be brought up to date.  However, in the court’s discretion, you may be allowed to break up your payment into monthly installments in addition to the court ordered support.  So, back to our example, if you are ordered to pay $1,000.00 a month in child support and owe $12,000.00 in back child support ($1,000.00 x 12 months) the court, in its discretion can break up your back pay over a year.  Thus, you will still pay $1,000.00 court ordered support, plus another $1,000.00 a month in backed child support for the first year, or in other words, that first year you will be paying $2,000.00 a month in child support.

Learning point: keep detail records of all support going to your spouse during the divorce process.  If you can, create a paper trail.  Pay your spouse with a check.  Understand that if you are not the custodial spouse, i.e. you do not have the kids, may be liable for child support. Speak to your Long Island divorce attorney about potential child support liabilities and plan accordingly.

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