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FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27198
Experience:  10 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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My daughter has been living with me here in New York ever since

Customer Question

my daughter has been living with me here in New York ever since we came (migrated) to the united states in july, 2010 from jamaica. I always send her to her mom who resides in north carolina on holidays (christmas/summer). In december 2014, i sent her for christmas holidays and here mom decides she's not sending her back to New York. Now three weeks ago i'm served with child support documents to attend court on july 9, 2015. Neither parent has custudy rights as neither went to court to have this done. Am i obligated to pay child support?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.
Good morning. Just to be clear, the documents you were served with are for her seeking child support? It has not been ordered yet?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
no , it has not been ordered yet
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes the documents are for her seeking child support
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. If the mother failed to return the child and is now seeking child support, she is essentially saying she wants primary custody and will keep the child going forward and you will need to pay child support. It will be up to the Judge to determine if it will be ordered but if she has custody of the child, it is going to be awarded since there is an obligation for you, as the father, to pay it. Now, the real issue is custody and if you want it and seek it, then it needs to be decided by the Judge and you would have to file a motion to have it ordered. Since everything has been informal over the years, there is a presumption that the mother has custody of the child. For you to obtain it, you would need to show that the child has been living with you since 2010 and only has been with the mother during holidays and the summer and allowing the mother to keep the child, is not in her best interest. If you are awarded custody, then she would have to pay you support but right now, there is going to be a custody battle if you want the child and you need to get an attorney to handle that and the child support issue, since they are contingent on each other.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your response, however i need to ask the question from the different perspective. I have always supported my daughter financially, her mother never ever gave me a dime towards supporting her for the four and a half years she's lived with me nor have I ever asked her for any money at all in supporting her daughter. Is it right for her to be seeking child support payment from me? What legal rights do i have where this issue is concerned?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
And to make matters worst she is seeking child support from the day she took my daughter away and did not send her back to New York. What legal rights do i have?
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome and I do understand. Legally, she has a right to seek it, if she has custody of the child. Yes, you support her for all these years but you did so voluntarily and you did have a right to get support from the mother, if you wanted. Just because you did not and did the right thing caring for her, does not mean the mother is forced to do the same. Now, as far as when the clock starts, you would have a basis to object to it and dispute it, since the child was simply supported to be with her for visitation and not she is withholding her, contrary to the informal agreement. However, the Judge may order it from when she had her, since she has had to incur the cost of care for the child, which is why legal counsel is best for you if you want to try and get your daughter back. it is very odd that the mother after 4 years is trying to gain custody of the child, unless her sole purpose is to get child support and essentially use it for her own needs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Now you hit the nail on the head. She does not want to work as far as i am concerned. She prefers to be a housewife, she's married now, residing in North Carolina but does not want to work. So with her having the right to claim since she took her away, what right do i have to claim support during the past four and a half years then?
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
A Judge is not likely going to order she pay you for the past 4.5 years, just because she is seeking it now, since I shared with you above that you had a right to go after her but never did. Had you tried getting support from her and she avoided you and you were not able to, it could change the situation. You can certainly address this with the Judge and go so far and ask that it offset the amount which you would have to pay but it is not something that would just be automatic. As I shared above, she is now married and does not work and she may want the child so she can get the support and have it as income. She is not required to tell you how the money would be spent, so you never know her intent and unless the child is not being cared for, you will never truly know.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 2 years ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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