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You cannot simply take it upon yourself to stop making your child support payments when the plan no longer works for you. Rather, you must obtain official permission from the New York State family court. Otherwise, not only may you be subject to severe consequences, but you may seriously hurt your child in the process. Follow along to find out what happens if you cannot afford to meet your child support requirements and how a proficient New York City child support attorney at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can help you stay out of legal trouble.

What do my child support payments cover?

Your child support payments are to cover your child’s basic living expenses. In addition to this, the New York State family court may calculate add-on expenses to support your child further. Examples are as follows:

  • Coverage for your child’s mandatory, basic living expenses:
    • The cost of your child’s food.
    • The cost of your child’s clothing.
    • The cost of your child’s sheltering.
  • Coverage for your child’s voluntary, add-on expenses:
    • The cost of your child’s extracurricular activities.
    • The cost of your child’s education or religious education.
    • The cost of your child’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.
    • The cost of your child’s care expenses for when the custodial parent goes to work.

That said, the court may settle on a fair obligation that leaves you with an adequate self-support reserve. As of 2024, the set self-support reserve for New York State residents is $20,331 per year.

Further, if you and the child’s other parent make a combined, adjusted gross income of $183,000 per year, the court may use child support percentages to set your child support obligation. In this case, you may contribute 17 percent, 25 percent, 29 percent, 31 percent, or 35 percent or more if you have one child, two children, three children, four children, or five or more children, respectively.

What do I do if I cannot afford to meet my child support requirements?

The New York State family court may have made a valiant effort to set a fair and just child support order in your divorce decree. But, understandably so, your financial circumstances may have changed since the date your divorce was finalized. With this, you may have to petition a post-judgment modification to the court.

So, in your testimony to the court, you must argue that you can no longer afford to fulfill your child support requirements. You may even go as far as to claim that doing so is making you fall below the poverty line, which for New York State residents in 2024 is $15,060 per year. Finally, you must prove that your diminished financial status is due to circumstances beyond your reasonable control.

In conclusion, before it is too late, you must retain the services of one of the talented New York City matrimonial and family law attorneys. Contact our Zimmet Law Group, P.C. office today.