CHILD SUPPORT


The statute governing the amount of child support the non-residential parent is obligated to pay in the State of New York is the Child Support Standards Act. An excellent resource for information regarding the payment of child support in he State of New York is wwww.childsupport.ny.gov. This website has complete calculators and directions for how to calculate the amount of child support a court may order a parent to pay, as well as how to make and track child support payments through the Child Support Collection Unit.
 
The April 24, 2012 decision of the First Department in the case of Tishman v. Bogatin affirmed affirmed the October 14, 2011 decision of New York County Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper which directed a father to pay 40% of his child’s private college expenses.

1. There was no burden placed on the mother to show that the child’s needs cannot be met adequately at a SUNY college

The First Department held that Justice Cooper properly rejected the father’s contention that a "SUNY cap" should be imposed on his obligation to contribute to the costs of the child’s college education. A "SUNY cap" is the current cost of an in-state college education at the State University of New York. Notably, there was no burden placed on the mother to make a showing that the child’s needs could not be met adequately at a SUNY college.

2. Whether to Impose a SUNY Cap is to be Determined on a Case-by-Case Basis

The court noted; "Whether to impose a SUNY cap is to be determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the parties’ means and the child’s educational needs. A rule that, absent unusual circumstances, a parent’s obligation is limited to the maximum SUNY tuition would be inconsistent with Domestic Relations Law § 240(1-b)(c)(7). Under that provision, a court may award educational expenses where it determines, “having regard for the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and in the best interests of the child, and as justice requires,” that the education sought to be paid for is appropriate." The court cited; Powers v Wilson, 56 AD3d 642 [2008]; Matter of Holliday v Holliday, 35 AD3d 468 [2006]; Berliner v Berliner, 33 AD3d 745, 748 [2006], lv denied 10 NY3d 702 [2008]

3. The Parties attended Private Schools and had the Resources to Pay for Private Education

Here, the appellate court noted that the child of the parties attended an elite public high school, his reasons for preferring the private college over SUNY schools were sound, both parties attended private college and private law school (neither party was represented by counsel), and both parties had the resources to pay the tuition at the private college where the child was presently enrolled. The court cited; (Domestic Relations Law § 240 [1-b] [c] [7]; see Otero v Otero, 222 AD2d 328, 329 [1995]; see also Rosado v Hughes, 23 AD3d 318 [2005]).

4. The Court May Direct a Parent to Contribute to a Child's Education

See Powers v. Wilson 56 A.D.3d 642 (2008); "Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 240 (1-b) (c) (7), the court may direct a parent to contribute to a child's education [before the child reaches the age of 21], even in the absence of special circumstances or a voluntary agreement of the parties, as long as the court's discretion is not improvidently exercised in that regard" (Matter of Holliday v Holliday, 35 AD3d 468, 469 [2006]). However, a court must give due regard to the circumstances of the case and the respective parties, as well as both the best interests of the child and the requirements of justice (id. at 469; see Cohen v Cohen, 21 AD3d 341 [2005]; Matter of Calvello v Calvello, 20 AD3d 525, 527 [2005]; Saslow v Saslow, 305 AD2d 487, 488-489 [2003])."