The Impact of Parents’ Finances on Custody Issues
In child custody cases, the parent who makes less money than the other might believe they are at a disadvantage. When evaluating what is in a young person’s best interests, a judge could favor the parent who has a fancier home in a better neighborhood. However, it’s important to remember that New York custody decisions are usually more nuanced than that. Courts take into account numerous factors that have nothing to do with income and focus more on the overall home environment.
No single factor is controlling in a child custody case, and it’s important to remember that child support and spousal maintenance payments might mean that both homes offer a similar standard of living. If your case is decided by a judge, he or she will examine a variety of factors, including:
- Stability of both parents and the value of keeping the child in the same home
- Child care arrangements
- Who was the primary caretaker prior to the filing of a child custody case
- Whether either parent has a history of substance abuse
- Parents’ mental and physical health
- Abuse of the other parent or the child
- Child’s preference, if the child is mature enough to express a reasonable opinion
- Where the child’s siblings live (courts prefer to keep siblings together if possible)
- Whether one parent can better meet the child’s educational needs
- Finances of each parent
As you can see, finances are part of the equation, but they are far from the only part. Courts will not award custody simply because one parent has more money than the other. When there is a large income disparity between parents, it’s wise to consult with a New York child custody attorney who can explain how a divorce might affect each parent’s financial position.
Under New York’s child support formula, the higher-earning parent is responsible for a larger share of the amount required to meet a child’s needs. Spousal support, also called maintenance or alimony, is another potential way to narrow the income gap if you’re going through a divorce. Courts frequently make awards consistent with the state guideline, which takes into account factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and other relevant information. Until you get an informed perspective on child support and alimony issues, you should not make assumptions about how your financial status will affect a custody determination.
At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we represent parents of all socioeconomic backgrounds and will work diligently to establish child custody arrangements that are truly in the best interests of your children. To speak with one of our attorneys, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation. We serve clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.