Monday, May 23, 2016

New 2016 Child Support Standards Chart Released

The 2016 poverty income guideline amount for a single person as reported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services is $11,880 and the 2016 self-support reserve is $16,038. The income cap is currently $143,000 on the combined parental income. Where the total income of both parents exceeds the combined parental income amount of $143,000 the law permits, but does not require, the use of the child support percentages in calculating the child support obligation on the income above $143,000. Click on link to download chart:

New Support Forms Updated March 1, 2016 For Maintenance and Child Support Applications Available on New York Courts Website

Click on LInk to download Form
Temporary Maintenance Worksheet (for divorces started on or after 10/25/15)
Temporary Maintenance Worksheet (for divorces started before 10/25/15)

Court of Appeals Holds That Consent to Record Conversation of Child with Another Person Includes Vicarious Consent, on Behalf of a Minor Child

In People v Badalamenti, 2016 WL 1306683 (2016) the Court of Appeals held that the definition of consent, in the context of “mechanical overhearing of a conversation” pursuant to Penal Law § 250.00(2), includes vicarious consent, on behalf of a minor child. It established a “narrowly tailored” test for vicarious consent that requires a court to determine (1) that a parent or guardian had a good faith belief that the recording of a conversation to which the child was a party was necessary to serve the best interests of the child and (2) that there was an objectively reasonable basis for this belief. The Court cautioned that its holding should not be interpreted as a vehicle to attempt to avoid criminal liability for the crime of eavesdropping when a parent acts in bad faith and lacks an objectively reasonable belief that a recording is necessary in order to serve the best interests of his or her minor child. Penal Law § 250.05 and CPLR 4506 cannot be so easily circumvented. The procedural vehicles of pretrial hearings must be used to determine the admissibility of any recordings and will result in the suppression of any parent’s recording that a court determines did not meet the narrowly tailored and objective test. In making this admissibility determination, a court should consider the relevant factors, which include, but are not limited to, the parent’s motive or purpose for making the recording, the necessity of the recording to serve the child’s best interests, and the child’s age, maturity, and ability to formulate well-reasoned judgments of his or her own regarding best interests.

Second Circuit Holds that Intimate Partner Violence Is a Relevant Factor in Determining if Fees and Expenses are "Clearly Inappropriate"

In Souratgar v Fair, 2016 WL 1168733 (2d Cir., 2016) the Second Circuit reversed a judgment ordering Respondent Lee Jen Fair to pay to the prevailing petitioner-appellee, Abdollah Naghash Souratgar, $283,066.62 in expenses under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, which directs district courts to issue such an order “unless the respondent establishes that such order would be clearly inappropriate.” 22 U.S.C. § 9007(b)(3).  It held that the determination requires district courts to weigh relevant equitable factors, including intimate partner violence. Having reviewed all relevant equitable factors, it concluded that, because the respondent showed that the petitioner engaged in multiple, unilateral acts of intimate partner violence against her and that her removal of the child from the habitual country was related to that violence, and because there were no countervailing factors in the record in favor of the petitioner, such an award would be “clearly inappropriate.”

Court of Appeals Construes "Extended Disruption of Custody", in Domestic Relations Law § 72 (2), in Favor of Grandparents finding they have Standing to Seek Custody

In Suarez v Williams, --- N.E.3d ----, 2015 WL 8788195 (N.Y.), 2015 N.Y. Slip Op. 09231, the Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge Leslie Stein, held that grandparents may demonstrate  standing to seek custody, pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 72 (2) and the Court’s decision in Matter of Bennett v Jeffreys (40 NY2d 543 [1976])  based on extraordinary circumstances where the child has lived with the grandparents for a prolonged period of time, even if the child had contact with, and spent time with, a parent while the child lived with the grandparents. In addition, a parent need not relinquish all care and control of the child. Even if the parent exercises some control over the child, for example during visitation, a parent may still, as a general matter, have voluntarily relinquished care and control of the child to the grandparent to the extent that the grandparent is, in essence, acting as a parent with primary physical custody.