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Parental duties under New York child support laws

All New York parents are obligated financially to their children. Some parents may believe that duty ends when a child reaches the age of majority at 18. State laws require support, as well as parent-provided medical insurance coverage, to continue until the child reaches 21.

The rule has exceptions. A child who enters the military service or marries before 21 is considered emancipated. Continued support and insurance for self-supporting adult children under 21 also is unnecessary.

The financial commitment is the same no matter what marital status the parents have. Parents who are married, unmarried, separated or divorced must provide child support. The laws specifically state both parents must contribute.

The traditional arrangement for child support is still fairly common: the non-custodial parent makes support payments to the custodial parent. The primary custodian is the parent with whom the child resides for the greater time. The non-custodial parent typically spends time with children during scheduled visitations.

The child of unmarried parents has the same rights as other children to financial support. However, it is necessary for an unmarried father's legal rights to be established through an Order of Filiation or an Acknowledgment of Paternity before support can be sought or ordered.

The non-custodial parent remains bound to the duty to pay support even if a custodial parent has the ability to support a child without help. In some cases, a court will order a financially neglectful parent, still sharing a household with the other parent and child, to pay support.

A court can approve a child support agreement customized by parents at the time of the couple's separation or divorce. A judge also may be asked to make a support decision for parents in conflict. Petitions are filed to obtain, enforce and modify support orders.

In each case, it is beneficial to discuss your case with an attorney to learn as much as possible regarding child custody and child support.

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