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Child CustodyChild SupportChanges in Child Custody Alters Child Support

October 30, 2007

Question– I had custody of my daughters from birth until they were 12 and 13. I voluntarily let them live with their father. Father didn’t pay any child support until 2002 when I applied for it, and he was only ordered to pay $25 a month. Now the father is seeking support from me. Will the court take into consideration the years he didn’t meaningfully contribute to their financial needs when they lived with me?

-Changes in child custody often cause problems in child support.

In New York, child support is awarded retroactive to the date of the application. If you did not apply for support until some time in 2002, the father had no “legal” obligation to pay child support. The father became legally obligated to pay child support when ordered by the court. Notwithstanding the fact that the father now has custody of the children, the father’s obligation to pay support continues until the children become emancipated or a court order terminates the support payments.

Your obligation to pay support will begin when it is ordered by the court. But, be careful- the support obligation could be retro-active to the date the father first sought support. So you could be in arrears even though there is no court order requiring you to pay support.

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