Question #71: We live in Suffolk County NY, I am a single Mom of a 17.5 year old daughter that is going away to college in Maryland. She was hospitalized for an eating disorder last year for 6 months and still needs supervision on her food intake and meds. So I am willing to move with her since I have some family there. My stip says that if I relocate outside of NY, without written permission from her Dad or the State supreme court approval that I will relinquish my parental right and she will live with her Dad. ( I am assuming child support would also be stopped) I have spoken to several people who have told me since her dad has made no effort to see her since she was hospitalized nor does my daughter want to spend weekends / time with him and that she will be 18, that the above statement won’t affect us. Would child support stop if we were to move since she is going away to college? My Ex tells her I CANT MOVE!! Please let me know if I have to take this to court. Thank you.

In order to properly respond to your question I would have to see the exact terms of the Stipulation. Does it address the possibility that your daughter will be attending college? Is there any geographic limitation on where she may enroll?
Once your daughter is no longer residing with you,( i.e. she is dorming in an out of state university) there should be no reason to restrict your ability to move.
Does the Stipulation address who will pay for your daughter’s college tuition and expenses?
Usually, if a child goes on to college, the parents must continue to support the child until age 22 or completion of the 4 year degree.

Call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange a meeting to review the details of your Stipulation and review the options.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq.
Divorce Solutions

Question #68: I currently pay child support for my twins daughters, and have faithfully for 15 years. My one daughter has decided to move in with me (she is 18.5 years old). Is there a form I need her to sign, stating she is leaving with me, so I don’t have to continue paying her portion of the support?

Does your Separation Agreement or Court order require you to continue to pay child support beyond eighteen?
Are your daughters going to college, and you agreed to pay support until they reach twenty two or graduate?
In any case, you cannot simply stop paying child support if there is a court order to do so.
Doing so would put you in violation of the court order.
You must make a motion to the court to have the order modified.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #67: In New York State, can a parent be forced by the courts to pay for a child’s private high school education? The parents have joint custody, 50% each. Both parents can afford to pay, although one refuses.

Interesting question which was recently addressed by the Court in NY
Regarding private college as opposed to a State college.
The answer is it depends on the family educational, financial and social
Level and their expectations.

See, Pamela v. Marc, 311980/2005
Supreme Court, New York County, Part 9
311980/2005
New York Law Journal
October 17, 2011
For the case referred to. You can find it online at nylj.com.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #65: I live in New York state and have been married for 5 years. the other day my husband just left with out telling me and now wont answer my calls. He was the one with a job I was a stay at home mom of two kids and now have no money to pay the rent. this has to be illegal right can he just leave us with no money or a place to live? I don’t want a divorce or a separation, do I have to consent to a separation agreement? I tried to find NY state divorce and separation laws online but cant find the answers? Isn’t abandonment illegal? what can I do I don’t know where my husband is or why he is doing this or my rights? thanks

He cannot just abandon you and the children .You should contact a matrimonial attorney in your
County to petition the court to force him to provide spousal and child support.
If you cannot afford an attorney, go to family court and seek assistance from the matrimonial part.
You do not have to consent to a separation or divorce. Do not sign any agreements without your own separate legal counsel.
Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #60: I have a question regarding child support when there is a joint custody arrangement in NYC. If both parents have joint physical custody and legal custody of the child and the child lives with each parent equally – 2 weeks with one parent and 2 weeks with the other parent, what kind of child support would be ordered by the court?

The situation you posit is somewhat unique, although not entirely unusual.
Usually the non custodial parent pays the custodial parent his / her share of the child support obligation.
In the case to you present, where both parents are custodial parents, no payment should be required to the other parent, but the child support obligation still remains and should be used by each parent
For the benefit of the child.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. Divorce Solutions

Question #59: Hi. I am hoping you can help me figure out what my best course of action should be. My husband and I are married one year and its his second marriage. The courts granted his divorce in 2006 by the Nassau County Courts. We currently reside in Queens NY and his ex and children in Nassau County.. My husband earns 110K/year and I 100K/year. We dont have a mortgage, we live in a house (by ourselves) which his father owns. Currently, my husband pays his ex-wife $2,500 /month in Maintenance and $2,500 /month in Child Support. In addition, he also pays 75% of children’s medical, $3,000 towards daughter’s dance and $3,000 towards extra-curricular activities. (three children, each receives $1,000/yr towards extra-curricular activities). My husband’s ex currently works and makes anywhere between $35K – 40K per year. Her maintenance is set to expire in 2010. My concerns are: I have heard that NYS law dictates that should the ex wife look to increase her cs payments, the courts COULD look at the 2nd wife’s income as a means for deciding whether or not an increase is possible. Basically the courts could look at my salary, feel that my husband’s life is enhanced by my pay and therefore, he can afford to contribute more money towards child support. How can I keep my money separate so that the courts won’t look at it for means of consideration? We spend a lot of time and additional money on the kids. I have no problem spending the money on them; however, I feel anything above and beyond should be at our discretion. In addition, while I love my husband and his kids, I need to make sure we have our own savings for our future. Currently we have no children together and I have no children of my own, but this may change and I need to know that financially we can afford it and not have to worry about fighting in the courts. Please let me know what my options are. Is keeping a checking account in my own name sufficient? Do my tax returns come into play? Should we be filing seperately? Thank you in advance for your help!

You pose an interesting question to which there is no specific, pat answer. Generally the courts have looked to the
Second spouse’s income when considering a change of support, usually when the spouse requests that his/her support obligations be reduced
Rather than when the prior spouse requests that the support be increased.
In any case, I believe a clear separation of the incomes and a post nuptial agreement between you and your husband which outlines precisely your financial relationship
Would be helpful in this case.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the preparation of a postnuptial agreement that would
address these issues.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq /Divorce Solutions

Question #52: If someone is paying child support from a previous relationship and they re-marry, what are the risks associated with the new spouse? In other words if the person responsible for paying the child support loses their job, will the new spouse have to pay it since they are legally re-married? Even though the kid is not theirs? If so, is this the same in every state? We live in NY.

The non- related spouse is generally not liable for the child support payments of the related spouse , but the court will
consider the total family income and the expenses of the family as a whole in determining the appropriate amount of child support to be paid by the related party.
Attempts to place all the family income in the non- related spouse (e.g. both work for the same company or family business) to avoid child support payments have been noted by the courts in NY and the Courts have imputed income to such spouse despite his claim of no income.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #49: This is my question. I had a discussion with my Daughter. She had two children and has married some one who is not the real Father. He has not adopted her children. My argument is! If she gets divorced does her husband have to support her children even though they are not his. I would appreciate a answer just to settle our disagreement. I say he doe’s not. Thank you for a reply.

If he is named as the father on the birth certificates, even if he is not the biological father,
he is responsible for their support. If he is not named as their father and has not adopted them,
even if he married their mother and has provided some support while married, he would generally not
be obligated to support them after divorce unless there were some extenuating circumstances requiring
him to do so.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #46: I have been divorced for almost a year now. My ex-husband is an airline pilot, whose schedule varies each month. Our initial agreement that he signed was for $2300 in child support for our 3 children, with the understanding that he can see the children any day that he is home, but not less than the 90 days per year, as long as I work with his flexible schedule each month. This amount was not to change for any additional days. I purchased a home based on a budget with this child support payment each month. He then altered the agreement prior to the final divorce to allow 103 days per year shared custody (lowering the support by $550 per month), with no mention of the schedule that I had to work with. He now wants to have additional days/nights with the children, over the 103 days per year, based on the days that he is not flying. I have asked (and feel the children and I NEED) a set weekly/bi-weekly schedule for custody. I cannot continue to wait 2 weeks before each month to get the next month’s custody schedule. He can bid his schedule around specific days, but cannot guarantee that he will get those days each month. Is there any way I can ask the court to set a schedule that we all must follow, so that I can make plans, and have a normal life?

How did your lawyer allow you to get into this untenable schedule in the first place? Once again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of using an experienced attorney-mediator to work out separation and divorce. These matters are too important to use self-help and will come back to haunt you in the future, just as this situation confirms. Clearly, this matter was not properly thought nor was the matter of adjusting the child support according to the number of days each month that one spouse or the other has the children.
There is no reason why you both cannot set a fixed schedule for a minimum number of days, and a fixed amount of child support regardless of how many days your spouse takes the children in any one month.

I strongly suggest that you mediate this matter rather than litigated in court and suggest that if you are living in the New York City metropolitan area that you call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss the matter together.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #44: Nov 2006, I was granted a divorce by Nassau County in NY. I have 3 children and I am currently paying my ex-wife $2500 / month for maintenace and $2500.00/month in child support. In addition, I pay $5000.00/year towards extra-curricular activities for the children. My gross annual income before paying alimony and child support is $110,000. I have two questions, I would love to have answered. 1) Shortly after the divorce was finialized my ex-wife informed me that she was starting a county job after the New Year. (she was unemployed throughout our 15 year marriage). I don’t know what her salary is at this new job, but I can estimate that she is making about $35,000 – $40,000/year. My question is, can I petition the courts to reduce the child support payment or the $5000 extra-curicular payment? How soon can I do this? Is there a wait period with the courts since the divorce was finalised 3 months ago? 2)My children’s ages are 12(G), 9(B), and 6(B). My ex constantly complains that she doesn’t want to ‘waste’ money on a babysitter. Recently on my ex’s scheduled weekend, my daughter was participating in a dance competition in another state which my ex was attending. This was for two nights. I offered to take the two boys for the weekend, but my ex told me no since she had it under control and taken care of already. When questioned who would be watching the boys, she told me to “F” myself and that it was none of my business. I kept asking and she eventually hung up on me – never returning my calls. The next day she went off to the dance competition in another state – I drove past the house no my way home from work and no one was there. I called the house 5 times and left two voicemails, but no one answered and no one returned my calls. I then called my ex on her cell phone and left her a voicemail telling her that I wanted to know where the boys were. I explained that I just wanted to make sure they were ok. Long story short, I had to threaten her, telling her that I would call the cops since she was out of town and I couldn’t find my two boys. She then called the boys and told the oldest (9 yrs) to call me. When I questioned her about the contact details that she gave to this person watching them, she told me that “Dan (9 yr old) knows how to contact you – your number is in the book”. I never heard from my kids that night. I called their house early the next morning and my oldest son answered. My ex’s boyfriend of 3 months was watching them for the weekend. When I asked my son what number he had for me, he confirmed it was a cell which I haven’t owned in 4 years. I am truly upset that (1) she went out of town without telling me who was watching the kids (2) that she didn’t make sure that the person watching them had my contact details and vice cersa (what would happen if something went wrong with the kids and my ex is out of state??? I am very actice in their lives. I go to every (try to)sporting event, I have them every other weekend and every Tuesday. During the Christmas break I took time off from work and had them for the entire week. I was generous to my ex finiancially because I wanted to make sure the kids would be taken care of, when in fact my youngest comes with holes in his shoes. My concern is this summer. I am already paying a bunch to her and I am fearful that she won’t get proper babysitters. What can I do? What are my rights?

With regard to your first question about petitioning the court for a reduction in child support and/or spousal support, unless you have experienced a dramatic drop in income, I do not think you are going to be very successful in your efforts, but in any case , you probably should wait until the first year has passed.

With regard to your second question regarding the presence and welfare of the children, you have every right to know that they are being taken care of properly and to know their whereabouts, especially when they are left in the presence of a stranger. If you had proper legal counsel when you got divorced, your attorney should have made sure that such issues were adressed in your Separation Agreement or in the Judgment of Divorce. There should be a provision in the Separation Agreement providing for access to the children by telephone when they are not by you and with regard to their presence and the nature of supervisory care that they are receiving when the resident parent is not with them.

I strongly suggest that you consider mediating these matters with your ex-wife rather than going into court. Mediation will be cheaper and quicker and less traumatic. If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area , please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting for us discuss mediation.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution