Last Updated On: February 8, 2024

How is Child Support in New York Calculated?

In the state of New York, child support is calculated using the NY child support calculator formula. The New York government website offers an online calculator that can help you determine how much child support you will be responsible for. This formula factors in each parent’s proportion of total income as well as pre-determined ratios required to be dedicated to child support. Below is a breakdown of each step of the formula and an example of the calculation. To speak with a qualified NYC child support lawyer, call us today at (212) 537-5859.

Step 1: Establish the total income of both parents

The first step is to determine the total combined income of both parents. This step is straightforward, and the courts simply add together the gross income of both parents based on the tax returns of the most recent year of filing.

Step 2: Subtract all relevant deductions from the total income

Next, the courts will adjust the total combined gross income by subtracting all applicable deductions.

Some of the common items that are often deducted from total income are:

  • Alimony or child support paid to spouses that are outside the action in question
  • Public assistance
  • Supplemental security income
  • City income taxes
  • FICA taxes

Step 3: Determine the percentage of income to allocate to child support based on the number of children

In New York State, the courts set out child support guidelines based on a percentage of the adjusted total income of both parents. This percentage is scaled up depending on the number of children who are in the family.

Here is a breakdown of these figures:

  • One child: 17%
  • Two children: 25%
  • Three children: 29%
  • Four children: 31%
  • Five or more children: 35%

Step 4: Establish the pro-rata share of child support for each parent

Once the total amount of child support is calculated from step 3, the next step is to determine each parent’s portion of the support payments. The courts will assign a pro-rata share of the total child support based on each parent’s proportion of the total adjusted income – typically paid on a per-month basis. This is done by dividing each parent’s contribution by the total adjusted income. Parents who are higher earners will therefore be responsible for a higher proportion of child support. Income can also play a part in determining the custodial and non-custodial parent.

Steps in Calculating Child Support in New York Details
Total Income Determine the total combined income of both parents by adding their gross income based on the most recent year of tax returns.
Deductions Subtract all relevant deductions from the total income, which may include alimony or child support paid to spouses outside the case, public assistance, taxes, and more.
Percentage Based on Number of Children Calculate child support based on a percentage of adjusted total income. The percentage increases with the number of children: 17% for one child, 25% for two, and so on.
Pro-Rata Share Establish each parent’s pro-rata share of child support by dividing their contribution by the total adjusted income.

Additional Expenses

This calculation covers basic child support and does not factor in expenses such as daycare and medical bills. These are typically shared equally between the parents unless ordered otherwise by the courts.

Example:

  1. Parent A and Parent B have two children.
  2. Parent A’s adjusted annual income is $50,000
  3. Parent B’s adjusted annual income is $30,000
  4. The total adjusted annual income of both parents is $80,000
  5. Based on state law, A and B’s total child support obligation for two children is $12,500
  6. Parent A’s percentage of the total income is 62.5% ($50,000/$80,000)
  7. Parent A’s pro-rata share of the child support is $7,812.50 ($12,500 * 62.5%)
  8. Parent B’s percentage of the total income is 37.5% ($30,000/$80,000)
  9. Parent B’s pro rata share of the child support is $4,687.5 ($12,500 * 37.5%)

In cases of high-net-worth divorce, this formula can vary based on other additional factors.

New York Child Support Calculator

NYC family law attorney

To compute child support payments, the court will direct the parent who does not have custody of the child to provide the custodial parent with the required amount for basic child support. The New York child support calculator takes into account the total income of both parents, with certain deductions subtracted, and multiplying the resulting amount by a percentage that varies based on the number of children that need to be supported. 

The parents’ respective shares of the total child support obligation are determined based on their individual incomes. To calculate the basic support obligation, use the following formula: 

  • 17% for one child 
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • no less than 35% for five or more children 

Income for child support purposes is not limited to wages or salary but also includes benefits such as unemployment insurance, disability benefits, and pension payments. 

Once the gross income has been calculated, specific deductions can be applied, such as Social Security and Medicare contributions, income tax, court-ordered or agreed-upon child support or spousal maintenance payments, and public assistance benefits. The adjusted incomes are then added together to arrive at the combined parental income, which is used to determine each parent’s proportional share of the child support obligation.

In addition to the basic child support obligation, mandatory add-on expenses such as health insurance, unreimbursed medical expenses, and child care expenses may also be included. Other expenses such as educational expenses, religious education, and extracurricular activities may also be added at the court’s discretion.

Understanding Child Support in Shared Custody Scenarios

In the landscape of divorce and child custody, understanding the nuances of child support in the context of shared custody can be complex. Particularly challenging is the scenario where parents share custody equally, often referred to as 50/50 joint custody. In such cases, the determination of child support obligations takes on a unique form.

In New York State, the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) is the guiding framework for calculating child support. The standard formula involves calculating the combined parental income and determining each parent’s proportional contribution based on their income. The percentages for child support allocations range from 17% for one child to 35% for five or more children.

However, the CSSA does not specifically delineate guidelines for 50/50 custody scenarios. This gap was addressed in the Baraby v. Baraby and Carlino v. Carlino cases, where the courts decided that in shared custody arrangements, the parent with the higher income is typically designated as the non-custodial parent for child support purposes. This parent is responsible for providing the support to the custodial parent, even though physical custody is evenly split.

What does this mean for parents in a 50/50 custody situation? The parent with a higher income should be prepared to pay child support. However, they may also be entitled to argue that their housing and living costs during their custody time reduce the expenses of the other parent. If proven, the court might find that applying the standard CSSA formula is unjust or inappropriate and may adjust the support amount accordingly.

This nuanced approach allows the courts to consider the actual costs incurred by both parents in raising their child. Parents in this situation should document how their time with the child reduces the other parent’s expenses, such as food, utilities, and transportation.

For parents in New York, especially in the first or second Judicial Departments, the precedents set by the Baraby and Carlino cases will likely influence child support determinations in shared custody scenarios. It is essential to recognize that each case is unique, and deviations from the CSSA guidelines are considered based on individual circumstances, potentially leading to a variance in court decisions.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure fairness and to meet the child’s needs effectively, acknowledging the shared responsibilities and costs of parenting in a 50/50 custody arrangement. Legal advice from a knowledgeable child support attorney can be invaluable in navigating these complex waters.

Child Support Modification

A child support modification is possible if there are significant changes in your life, like job loss, serious illness, or other circumstances that could lead to the need for child support payments being increased or decreased. These matters should be handled quickly, as child support payments cannot be retroactively refunded and are non-refundable.

The courts will use the Child Support Standards Act formula to calculate child support for your case if they determine that modification to child support is appropriate. This applies to all parental income, up to $143,000. The court can use its discretion to decide the amount of support if your income is higher than this.

You don’t have to follow state guidelines if you and the other parent of your child prefer to reach an agreement without going to court. It is in your best interest to speak with an experienced New York child support attorney about your rights and responsibilities when “negotiating” your terms. It is an excellent example of power being knowledge. It is important to ensure that the agreement you have made will be valid in court, should any court intervention become necessary.

Technology is improving every day, making it easier to track, locate, and force fathers and mothers to support their children. Arrears or failing to pay child support ordered by the court or agreed upon legally can result in a negative effect on credit, driving privileges, and freedom. Do not ignore a child support petition served on you, regardless of whether it is for the first or second time. You could face severe consequences.

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