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Determining Child Support in New York

Determining Child Support in New York

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When parents get a divorce, child support is essential in ensuring the child has everything they need to live. New York's child support laws can be confusing and difficult to decipher for parents new to the child support process. Our Westchester attorneys are here to explain child support laws in New York as well as how payments are calculated.

Defining Child Support

Child support is additional money that one parent pays to another to help support a child. Both parents are responsible for providing their children with the resources they need to live a happy, healthy, and safe life. Generally, the non-custodial parent will be the one making child support payments to the custodial parent.

In New York, child support covers several expenses for the child, including:

  • Health insurance
  • Medical costs
  • Educational expenses
  • Childcare, while the custodial parent is at work or school

To determine child support, the court uses both parents' incomes and considers what each parent can provide.

How is Child Support Calculated in New York?

The court uses a formula to calculate the amount of child support. This formula is based on both parents' income per year and the number of children the parents are responsible for. For parents with a combined income of $154,000 or less, the court follows the simple guidelines outlined in New York state laws. For combined incomes of more than $154,000, the court can use the same formula as above for all income or for just up to $154,000.

Calculating Child Support for Combined Incomes of $154,000 or Less

Here are steps in the formula the court uses to calculate basic child support:

  1. Add the income of both parents
  2. Multiply that number by the appropriate child support percentage (this is based on the number of children)

The following are the percentages per child that is used to calculate support:

  • One Child = 17% of the combined parental income
  • Two Children = 25% of the combined parental income
  • Three Children = 29% of the combined parental income
  • Four Children = 31% of the combined parental income
  • Five or More Children = no less than 35% of the combined parental income

For example, say you have the majority of physical custody of your two children, and you make $30,000 per year. Say the other parent makes $40,000 per year. After combing both incomes ($70,000), the court will multiply that by 25$ (which is based on the per child percentage). $70,000 x .25 = $17,500. This number is the basic child support obligation.

You would be responsible for 40% of that number, or $7,000. This is because your income ($30,000) makes up 40% of the combined parental income. The other parent is then responsible for paying the other 60% in child support, or $10,500. That parent will then make payments throughout the year that add up to $10,500. The parent with physical custody most of the time is presumed to be spending their share directly on their child's expenses.

The court has the ability to request additional payments in addition to the basic child support obligation. For example, the court may add on more child support in the following situations:

  • The custodial parent is working or going to school and needs more assistance to cover childcare costs.
  • There are reasonable healthcare expenses for the child.
  • The child's education requires additional support.

These payments are prorated at the same percentage as the basic child support obligation.

Calculating Child Support for Combined Incomes Higher Than $154,000

If the combined parental income is more than $154,000 per year, the court can use the same formula previously mentioned. However, this is not the only option. Instead, the court could choose to use the formula for only the first $154,000 of combined income and then decide how much of the remainder to award by considering certain factors.

These factors include:

  • What are the financial resources of each parent?
  • What are the child's physical, emotional health, and special needs?
  • What is the standard of living the child was accustomed to before the divorce?
  • What are the tax consequences for each spouse?
  • What non-monetary contributions will the parents make toward the care and well-being of the child?
  • Does either parent have educational needs?
  • Is one parent's gross income substantially less than the other parent's gross income?

Have questions about child support in New York? Call us today at (914) 873-4410 to speak to our skilled Westchester attorneys.