Child Support In New York Is Much More Than Plugging Numbers Into A Formula

If you and your spouse have a child, the parent with whom the child does not live will probably pay child support pursuant to a statutory formula. Child support is designed to cover the basic day-to-day needs of the child.

Establishing child support often becomes one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. A parent who is ordered to pay child support often feels the payment amounts to a punishment. In truth, child support payments simply ensure the child receives the basic things he or she needs to feel safe, happy and secure.

The Law Offices of Douglas Scheinman has represented both custodial and noncustodial parents in hundreds of such proceedings throughout Queens, Kings, Nassau and Suffolk counties. The laws to determine child support in New York are complex. For that reason, it is unwise to attempt to represent yourself on such matters. Decisions made in court after waiving the right to have an experienced attorney can be difficult to reverse. Since such a decision will impact you and your family forever, it is important to discuss your particular situation with an experienced family law attorney such as Douglas Scheinman.

Understanding The Income Shares Model

Pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), New York uses the parent's income to determine child support. The expenses of the noncustodial parent are largely ignored. Generally, the amount of support is a percentage of income after adjusting Social Security, Medicare and New York City taxes. For one child, the percentage is 17 percent; for two children the percentage is 25 percent; and 29 percent for three children.

Under most circumstances, parents have an obligation to support the children until age 21. Under certain circumstances, child support may end before age 21, but parents are free to make their own child support agreement, so long as the reasoning for the deviation from guidelines is adequately described in an agreement, and so long as the parties reflect what the CSSA guideline support would have been.

Courts may make adjustments in the support amount based upon unusual travel expenses, other children being supported, substantial differences in income and the financial resources available to each other. In addition to the basic child support, a court may require the noncustodial parent to contribute a percentage of child care costs, medical expenses and certain educational expenses.

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