A New York judge ruled that a millionaire father who has custody of his son the majority of the year cannot be made to pay child support to the son's mother, despite a large difference in incomes.
Anthony Della Salla has primary physical custody of his 9-year-old son. The boy lives with his father during the school year, but spends summers with his mother, Mara Rubin. Della Salla is a millionaire with over $20 million in assets. Rubin receives $5,000 a month in pendente lite child support payments from Della Salla, and an additional $1,000 in child support payments from the father of a second child. She has no other income.
Rubin and Della Salla were never married, but they had a romantic relationship. Their son was born in 2003. The couple’s relationship ended in 2007. At that time, the boy was living with Rubin. There was no formal custody arrangement.
In 2009, Rubin sought sole physical and legal custody, as well as child support. Della Salla also asked for sole custody. In 2011, a New York court gave Della Salla primary custody during the school year. Rubin was given primary custody during the summer.
After the 2011 custody ruling, Della Salla asked for a summary judgment on the child support claim. Under the Child Support Standards Act of 1989, only non-custodial parents can be ordered to pay child support. As a custodial parent, Della Salla should not be obligated to pay support.
In 2012, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gesmer ruled that the parents had “parallel legal custody” and ordered Della Salla to make support payments because Rubin had no income and needed money to help pay her rent. Della Salla appealed.
New York State Appellate Division judge agreed with Della Salla and reversed the 2012 order. According to Justice Rosalyn Richter, "plain language of the Child Support Standards Act, its legislative history, and its interpretation by the Court of Appeals, a custodial parent who has the child a majority of the time cannot be directed to pay child support to a non-custodial parent.”
While Rubin does not dispute the language of the law, she believes that the judge’s decision is "unjust and inappropriate" because of the disparity in income. She believes the well-being of the child is at risk.
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