Child custody has many different facets, which means that the question of eligibility for child support also does not have a single answer. In New York, the arrangements regarding child custody can differ tremendously. So, who is eligible for child support?

A parent who primarily takes care of the child will often be eligible to receive child support. This would mean that the parent with whom the child lives the majority, or all, of the time. Normally, this parent would be the parent mainly responsible for caring for the child. During a disputed divorce one parent may be appointed as the custodial parent by the court. A single parent raising a child alone, without any attempt by the other party to obtain custody, is also considered a custodial parent.

Matters are not as simple when parents have joint custody. A joint custody arrangement would mean that the child lives with both parents for equal amounts of time. However, should there be a big difference between the financial situations of the divorced parents, the less well-off parent may still be eligible for child support. Without the child support, the less well-off parent may be unable to afford the needed everyday costs during the time the child is in his or her care.

Unfortunately, a custodial parent is not necessarily ensured of child support payments, particularly in the case where the divorce was less amicable or in the case of single parents. It may be necessary to establish paternity or find the other party. It is also important to ensure the issuing of a child support order. Custodial parents in New York may find the process confusing and complicated and would benefit from consulting with an attorney specializing in family law to obtain advice regarding their position and options.

Source: FindLaw, “Are You Eligible for Child Support?“, Sept. 1, 2014