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Child Support Considerations for Unmarried Parents Living Together

child support

Navigating child support considerations for unmarried parents living together in New York involves understanding the nuances of state laws regarding paternity, custody, and financial responsibilities. New York law requires both parents to support their child until the age of 21, emphasizing the importance of establishing paternity and formalizing child support agreements, even among cohabiting couples​.

Establishing Paternity

The first crucial step for unmarried parents is establishing paternity, as fathers in New York do not have any rights until paternity is officially recognized. If there's a dispute, this can be done voluntarily through an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form or court-ordered genetic testing​​.

Custody and Its Role in Child Support

The next step is to determine custody, which significantly impacts child support arrangements. The court considers factors such as the child's best interest, each parent's ability to provide a stable home, and the child's relationship with each parent in custody decisions​. It is also important to note that the custodial parent cannot be obligated to pay child support.

Child Support Enforcement

New York calculates child support payments using the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), which are typically a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. The state's Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) plays a pivotal role in establishing and enforcing support orders and safeguarding children's welfare​.

Process for Starting a Child Support Case

For unmarried parents living together, navigating child support begins with filing a child support petition in Family Court in the county where the child resides. There's no filing fee for this in Family Court, but the process includes serving the other parent with a summons and requires accurate, up-to-date information for smooth proceedings​.

The Importance of Legal Representation and Mediation

Mediation can offer a less adversarial approach to resolving disputes in situations where child support becomes contentious. However, complex child support matters might necessitate legal representation. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance, ensuring that the child's needs are met and that all parties understand their legal obligations and rights​.

For unmarried parents living together in New York, it's essential to navigate the legal landscape of child support with care and diligence. Formalizing agreements and establishing paternity early can avoid potential conflicts and ensure the child's welfare is prioritized.

If you are navigating child support considerations as an unmarried parent living with your partner in New York and have questions about your legal responsibilities and rights, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can provide clarity and peace of mind. For experienced guidance on child support and related family law matters, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Anthony LoPresti at 516-252-0223 or visit for more information.