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Child Support
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The New York State Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) became law in 1989 and can be found in Domestic Relations Law 240 and Family Court Act 413. These statutes enumerate the standards courts must use when making child support awards. This article refers only to the Domestic Relations Law however the same provisions are found in the Family Court Act.
It is understandable if you cannot pay as much in child support after you lose your job. The court will likely be able to modify the amount that you are ordered to pay, but you cannot expect this to happen without some help.
Deadbeats who owe court ordered child support have another incentive to pay their arrears. Effective October 1, 2006, Federal law prohibits the issuance or renewal of a U.S. passport to anyone with child support arrears of $2,500.00 or more and allows the government to revoke or limit previously issued passports to such individuals.
New York’s child support laws can be found in two identical statutes, Domestic Relations Law Section 240 and Family Court Act Section 413. The DRL is used for divorce cases in Supreme Court, while the F.C.A. section applies to support proceedings in Family Court.
Recently, in a California Court case, a man filed in court to set aside the order of paternity and order of child support which were both on default against him five years earlier. The appellate court did set aside those orders, once paternity testing proved him not to be the father. In this case, the man was never married to the mother and never lived with her.
In New York State, custodial parents (i.e., those parents who have primary care giving responsibility for their children and do not live with their children’s other parent), have a right to child support from the children’s noncustodial parent pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act.
Judgments for support of children and spouses receive special consideration by the courts in New York. The philosophy behind this special treatment is the legislative recognition of public policy engendered by guaranteeing support of children by both parents under the mandates of New York’s Child Support Standards Act and other statutes related to support of children and spouses (such as sections of the Family Court Act, Domestic Relations Law and Social Services Law).
On September 15, 1989 the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) became effective. This sweeping new legislation (sometimes unofficially called the ’guidelines’) amends Section 240 of the Domestic Relation Law to require that the court provide for child support and that an award of child support be made in accordance with subdivision 1-b of that section. Identical child support provisions were included in Section 413(1-b) of the Family Court Act.
The support obligation will terminate prior to the age of 21 years if the child becomes emancipated. Emancipation is a question of fact but would include, among other things, the marriage of the child, the full-time employment of the child, or the child residing way from the residence of the custodial parent.

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In order to file for divorce in New York, on spouse must be a resident for one (1) year. However, if the spouses were married outside the state, both parties must live in the state for two (2) years before filing for divorce. These New York residency requirements must be met in order for the court to have jurisdiction over the case.

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