Under NY Law, the Child Support Standards Act “CSSA” sets forth a formula for child support based on income. In their agreements, divorcing parents must acknowledge the amount yielded by the formula and that it is presumed the correct amount under the law. Parents may choose to follow the presumed correct amount or they may deviate from that amount. If they deviate, they must state which factors enumerated in the Domestic Relations Law caused them to deviate and how it is in the best interests of their children to do so. In NY, child support payments are required until emancipation, typically age 21.
Under the statute there are basic child support payments and there are add-on costs for education, childcare and medical expenses.
Steps to determine the presumed correct amount of basic child support under the CSSA:
Combine both parents’ incomes up to the 2014 statutory amount of $154,000*.
(Subtract amounts paid for Social Security, Medicare, NYC and Yonkers Taxes, Maintenance payments to current spouse and Child Support from a previously existing order).
Apply the appropriate percentage to the result:
- 17% for one child
- 25% for two children
- 29% for three children
- 31% for four children
- 35% for five or more children
Determine the percentage of the payor’s income as compared to the combined income.
The parent with whom the children reside for more time is considered the custodial parent and will receive the support payments (the “payee”). The other parent is considered the non-custodial parent and will make the payments (the “payor”). In families where parents have equal time with the children, the parent with greater income will be the payor.
- Payee = $50,000
- Payor = $75,000
- Combined income = $125,000
- 2 children .25 x $125,000 = $31,250
- 75,000/125,000 = 60%
- 60% x $31,250 = $18,750 per year or $1,562.50 per month
To determine payment of add-on expenses (education, childcare and medical) in example:
- Take percentage of non-custodial parent’s income as a percentage of the combined income, in the above example, 60%.
- The remaining percentage is paid by the custodial parent, in the above example, 40%.
This outline provides a foundation for discussion about child support. In mediation, parents can decide what works best in their particular circumstances.
*The question of what constitutes income is meant to be broad and include wages, and other income included on a tax return. In court, a judge might impute additional income from other sources. Also, if the combined income of the parents exceeds the statutory cap, a judge has discretion (or the parties may agree) to an amount of income above the statutory cap against which to apply the support percentages depending on factors outlined in the Domestic Relations Law 240 Section 1-b.