Family Law

Suffolk County Family Law Attorney

At George E. Patsis, PLLC, our Long Island Family Law Attorneys understand the sensitivities surrounding your Child Support or Custody case.  Our Attorneys and staff take care to provide each client with compassionate and individualized service to meet your needs and goals.

Family law often encompasses emotionally-sensitive and complex issues that have significant financial impact for years to come. Considering the often difficult nature of these cases, we have found that involving or at least consulting with an attorney early on can make a significant difference in one’s ability to reach a practical, beneficial solution.

George E. Patsis, PPLC handles all types of family law matters for clients in Suffolk County and Nassau County. When you work with our child support, custody, and spousal maintenance Attorneys, you can count on our dedicated representation and personalized client service.

Whether you are seeking child support, spousal support or custody we are ready to review your case and provide the best course of action.

Child Support

At George E. Patsis, PLLC, our Attorneys understand the sensitivities that may surround your Family Law case, and provide competent legal representation in a compassionate atmosphere.  Whether you are seeking child support or custody for the first time, a modification of a child support order or custody order, or enforcement of a child support order or custody agreement, we are ready to assist.

How is child support calculated?

In New York, the Child Support Standards Act (the “CSSA”) governs the calculation of child support.  The Family Court calculates child support as a percentage of the combined gross income of a child’s parents.  As of March 2020, the combined parental income used to calculate child support is capped at $154,000.00.  A Family Court judge will calculate child support as a percentage of parent’s combined gross income.  The number of children being supported by the parents determines the percentage of income payable as child support.

Child Support Percentages:

One Child 17%
Two Children 25%
Three Children 29%
Four Children 31%
Five + Children no less than 35%

After calculating the overall child support obligation as a percentage of combined income, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation is based upon his or her overall proportion of combined income.

The Long Island Child Support attorneys at George E. Patsis, PLLC are ready to fight for the child support you deserve!

Child Support Case Study:

A mother of three children is seeking child support from the father. The mother earns $50,000.00 per year and the father earns $80,000.00 per year.  Adding both parents income together results in a combined parental income of $130,000.00.  Subtracting FICA tax from the combined parental income results in an adjusted combined income of $120,055.00.  The mother’s income provides 38.46% of the adjusted combined income and the father’s income provides 61.54%.  With three children, the child support percentage applicable in this case is twenty-nine (29%) percent.  The overall support obligation in this case would be $2,901.33 per month with 61.54% attributed to to the father.  As a result, the father’s CSSA guideline support obligation would amount to $1,785.43 per month.

Enforcement of Child Support Orders

Many times the most difficult issue that arises in a child support case is the actual receipt of child support funds.  Our Long Island Family Law Attorneys are well versed in the many methods of enforcing child support orders, including income deduction orders, suspension of driver’s licenses, suspension of professional licenses, entry of a money judgment and the forced sale of property, contempt, and in extreme cases incarceration of the offending parent.  Additionally, our team of Long Island Family Law Attorneys will fight for an order granting attorney’s fees to the custodial parent.


Modification of Child Support Order

It is a fact of life that things change with time and child support is no different.  The Court can modify a child support order in several
circumstances.  A child support order may be modified where there is a substantial change in circumstances, more than three years have passed since the child support order was issued, or there was more than a 15% increase or decrease in either parent’s income.

Downward Modification

Quite frequently, a non-custodial parent seeks a downward modification of a child support order when they lose their employment, or suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from working.  Child support modification cases require careful planning and documentation to be successful.

Upward Modification

A custodial parent may seek an increase in child support where it is in the best interests of the child.  After filing a child support modification petition, the Court will first consider whether a substantial change in circumstances necessitates an increase in child support.  For example, the Court may consider the increased needs of the child and the overall increased cost of living.  Secondly, the Court will consider a loss of income or assets by a parent or a parents improved financial condition.  Thirdly, the Court may compare the child’s current and previous lifestyle.

The Court may determine if a substantial change has occurred by comparing the financial situation at the time of the child support order with the financial situation at the time of the request for modification.  A simple change in a parent’s current financial situation does necessarily result in a child support modification.  Rather, the Court will review the non-custodial parent’s true and potential income and ability to provide support.

Spousal Support

The Family Court act legally obligates a married person to financially support their spouse.  A married person can seek spousal support by filing of a petition in a New York Family Court.  An award of spousal

support is based upon the income of both spouses.  Before calculating spousal support, it is important to understand the meaning of several terms.  The “Payee” is the recipient of spousal support. The “Payor”is the spouse paying support.

Determining Your Spouse’s True Income

The first step in calculating spousal support is to determine the income of each spouse.  While determining a spouses income may seem like a simple issue, it is one of the most frequent areas of litigation.  Quite often a spouse may claim low income as a result of unemployment or disability.  Likewise, a spouse may fail to report cash tips, or an off-the-books job.  The Long Island Family Law attorneys at George E. Patsis, PLLC are highly experienced in rooting out true income. Our attorneys use techniques to prove actual income, including issuing subpoenas to financial institutions, taking testimony, comparing expenses to income, and obtaining witnesses.

Calculating Spousal Support

After determining the income of both spouses, the Family Court will subtract twenty-five percent of the payee’s income from twenty percent of the payor’s income.  Then, the Family Court will combine both spouses income.  After combining the income, the total is multiplied by forty percent.  Next, the Court will subtract the payee’s income from forty percent of the combined income.  Finally, the Court compare’s the results of its calculations and selects the lower amount.  This method of calculating spousal support only applies when the payee will also be paying child support and the payor is the custodial parent. It is also important to note that a spouses income, for purposes of calculating spousal maintenance, is capped at $184,000.00.


While at first blush the calculation of spousal maintenance may appear simple, the Family Court may deviate from the above method of calculation under a number of circumstances.  The law permits the Court to deviate for anyone of fourteen factors.  The Family Law lawyers at George E. Patsis, PLLC use these factors to obtain the best result possible for clients.

Custody and Visitation

Custody and visitation are issues that are near to the hearts of all parents.  The Long Island Custody Lawyers at George E. Patsis, PLLC understand how important Custody and Visitation are to parents.  That is why our family law attorneys always take special care and time to discuss the details of your case.  The details of your relationship with your child, your child’s progress in school, extracurricular activities and ties to the community can be some of the deciding factors in child custody cases.

Details of a Child Custody or Visitation Case

A child custody matter is no simple undertaking; the advice, guidance, and expertise of an experienced New York Child Custody attorney should always be sought.  Neither parent has an automatic right to sole custody.  The right to custody is a determination made by the Court or agreed to between the parties.

After a custody petition is file, the New York Family Court will always make every effort to determine what is in the best interests of the child.  It is the Court’s goal to ensure the child’s safety, welfare and happiness.  The Court may consider factors such as the condition of the home environment, each parent’s ability in promoting the child’s emotional development, the parent’s ability to foster the child’s intellectual development, and the finances of each parent.  Similarly, the Court will review each parent’s relative fitness to serve as the custodial parent.  Likewise, the Court will review how an award of custody to one parent will effect the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent.  Additionally, the Court will consider whether the parent’s had any prior custody agreement.  Finally, the Court may speak with the child to determine whether the child has any preference.

With over eighty years of combined experience in custodial and visitation cases; You can trust that the attorneys at George E. Patsis, PLLC will provide You the representation You and Your child deserve.

Interstate Custody Lawyers

Seeking child custody when a parent resides outside of New York can be a complicated matter.  Interstate child custody cases follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”), which in New York is codified under Article 5-a of the Domestic Relations Law.  The first step our New York interstate custody attorneys will take is making a determination on jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction will determine which state will hear your child custody case.  Jurisdiction is determined under a number of factors included in the UCCJEA.  The New York Family Court has jurisdiction over an initial child custody order under the UCCJEA when the child’s Home State is New York.

Home State

“Home State” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding.  In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with a parent or a person acting as a parent. If there is a temporary absence of the parent or child, the temporary absence is part of the six month period.

My Child Does Not Have a Home State

If New York is not the subject child’s Home State, then the Court must review a number of other scenarios which permit the Family Court to exercise jurisdiction.  In any of the following situations, the Family Court will have jurisdiction to make an initial custody order:

  1. If New York was the child’s Home State within the past six months and a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in New York; or
  2. A court of another state does not have Home State jurisdiction; or
  3. A court of the child’s Home State declined jurisdiction and found that New York is the more appropriate state for jurisdiction; and
    1. The child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with New York other than mere physical presence;
    2. Substantial evidence is available in New York concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; and
    3. All other courts have declined jurisdiction.

As you can see, just obtaining jurisdiction in an interstate child custody case can become complex.  The Child Custody attorneys at George E. Patsis, PLLC are well versed in interstate custody cases and have successfully obtained custody from parents as far away as Alaska.

Interstate Child Support

Child care expenses can become enormous living in New York, especially Long Island.  Our Child Support lawyers understand the financial difficulties in raising a child in Nassau or Suffolk County.  We won’t let a state boarder prevent you from receiving the child support you and your child deserve!  Obtaining interstate child support has become a specialty for our attorneys.  With ever increasing numbers of parents moving out of New York, it has become increasingly common to encounter interstate child support cases.

New York adopted the “Uniform Interstate Family Support Act,” allowing New York custodial parents to obtain child support from across state lines.  Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the New York Family Court may obtain jurisdiction over a non-custodial parent living outside of New York.

Interstate Child Support Jurisdiction

The New York Family Court will exercise jurisdiction over a non-resident parent where any of the following are true:

(1) the non-custodial parent is personally served with a summons and petition within New York;

(2) the non-custodial parent submits to the jurisdiction of New York by consent, by entering a general appearance, or by filing a responsive document or other action having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;

(3) the non-custodial parent resided with the child in this New York;

(4) the non-custodial parent resided in New York and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child;

(5) the child resides in New York as a result of the acts or directives of the non-custodial parent;

(6) the individual engaged in sexual intercourse in New York and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse;

(7) the individual asserted parentage of a child in the putative father registry maintained in New York by the office of children and family services; or

(8) there is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of New York and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.


If you are looking for a Family Law attorney near you, George E. Patsis, PLLC is located in Lindenhurst, New York.  We are especially convenient to the following nearby towns: Lindenhurst, Amityville, Wyandanch, Dix Hills, Babylon, West Babylon, North Babylon, Deer Park, West Islip, East Islip, Bay Shore, Brightwaters, Huntington, Farmingdale and other towns in Suffolk County and Nassau County.