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Father Appeals Child Support Calculations

A New York Family Lawyer said that, in the parties’ separation agreement, which was incorporated but not merged into the judgment of divorce, the father agreed that his child support obligation for a given year would be 25% of his gross income for the prior year. On a prior appeal in this case, this Court found that it was error for the Hearing Examiner to rely on the father’s gross income from 1996 to calculate his child support obligation for 1998, and to fix that obligation from 1998 onward.

A Suffolk Child Support Lawyer said that, after that appeal, the Child Support Enforcement Bureau of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (hereinafter the Bureau), which oversaw the father’s account with the Suffolk County Support Collection Unit, moved in the Family Court to have the court calculate the father’s child support obligation from 1998 onward. The Family Court referred the matter to the Hearing Examiner, who, by order dated November 14, 2001 (hereinafter the Hearing Examiner’s order), calculated the father’s child support obligation “effective” December 1, 2001. Contrary to the father’s contention, the court properly entertained the Bureau’s application.

The issue in this case is whether the father’s child support obligation should be re-calculated.

A New York Custody Lawyer said the Court held that the parties are bound by the terms of their agreement regarding child support, which, this Court noted in the prior appeal, are “clear”. Yet, when the Hearing Examiner calculated the father’s child support obligation, she once again disregarded those terms. Indeed, she did not rely on the father’s gross income. Instead, she relied on a greater amount, as she imputed income to the father. Since there were no “persuasive allegations” that the children’s needs were going unmet, this was unwarranted. Thus, the father’s objections to the Hearing Examiner’s order should have been sustained and that order vacated. While we are of the opinion that petitioner failed to satisfy her burden of proving that respondent’s financial circumstances have increased so drastically as to warrant a significant increase in child support, we think that the divorce decree should be modified in accordance with the provisions of the separation agreement.

A Queens Family Court said that upon remitter, the Family Court, Suffolk County, must vacate its income deduction order entered June 24, 2002, which is not up for review, since that order was based on the Hearing Examiner’s order. The Family Court shall also receive submissions from the father and determine, in strict accordance with the parties’ agreement regarding child support, what the Bureau requested. Specifically, the Family Court shall determine: the amount of the father’s gross income for the years 1997 onward; the amount of his child support obligation for the years 1998 onward; the amount he paid each year toward his obligation, whether directly to the mother or through the support collection unit; and the amount, if any, he might have overpaid. The father’s remaining contentions are not properly before this Court, as no appeal was taken from the order entered August 12, 2002. The Family Court erroneously dismissed this proceeding. The defense that an action by this petitioner, pending in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County, seeks the identical relief sought in the instant proceeding was never interposed by respondent and therefore should not have been considered by the Family Court.

A Long Island Family Laywer said that accordingly, the court held that the appeal from the order entered October 30, 2001, is dismissed, as that order was superseded by the order entered January 29, 2002; and it is further, Ordered that the order dated January 29, 2002, is reversed insofar as appealed from, on the law, with costs, the objections to the order of the Hearing Examiner dated November 14, 2001, are sustained, that order is vacated, and the matter is remitted to the Family Court, Suffolk County, for further proceedings in accordance herewith before a different Hearing Examiner and Judge.

If you have issues concerning child support and/or spousal support, seek the assistance of a Suffolk Child Support Attorney and Suffolk Spousal Support Attorney. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, our Suffolk Family Attonrey can help you. Call us for free consultation.

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