Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Friday, March 3, 2017

How is child support computed?

Parents have a responsibility for their children’s emotional and financial wellbeing, even if they do not know the child personally and/or do not live with them. New York state law stipulates children must be financially supported until they are 21 years old. A knowledgeable child custody attorney can assist you in determining what that support should look like.

What Is Child Support?

Child support can consist of cash payments for expenses like childcare and other general support, and medical support in the form of health insurance. The exact amount is usually determined in family court.

During a divorce, the noncustodial parent is usually responsible for financially supporting any children via child support. Noncustodial parents are ones that live away from the child. Even if the noncustodial parent is in jail, is unemployed, or in another part of the world, they can still be ordered to pay child support.

Child support cases are usually decided in a local Family Court, where a hearing examiner will decide on the details. Generally, if there is joint custody of children, the parent who makes more money usually will be ordered to pay child support to the other.

However, if there is a question over if a person is the legal guardian of a child, there are support structures in place to help clear up any potential issues. An experienced and professional family lawyer will be able to help you through the process of both filing for child support, and for clearing up any questions regarding paternity.  They can work with you to authorize genetic or DNA tests in order to determine paternity, and can help you fill out an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, which gives legal protections and rights to a parent.

How Is Child Support Calculated in New York?

The Child Support Standards Act mandates child support payments in New York. It was enacted to ensure that all decisions of child support are consistent, and allow for continuity in the standard of living for the child, even if parents are separated.

Generally, support is set at a static percentage. The court does have some leeway with the percentages if parental earnings, minus some deductions, are over $143,000. The current support structure is fixed at:

  1. One Child:  17% of combined parental income
  2. Two Children: 25% of combined parental income
  3. Three Children: 29% of combined parental income
  4. Four Children: 31% of combined parental income
  5. Five or More Children: No less than 35% of combined parental income

What If My Spouse Earns Less Than The Poverty Level?

Parents who have incomes below the Federal Poverty Line will usually see their support payments capped at $25 per month, while those under the New York Self-Support Reserve will general see their payments at $50 a month.

The Federal Poverty Level for 2016 was at $11,880, while the New York Self-Support Reserve was at $16,038 for 2016.

Confused About Child Support Requirements?

An experienced and professional family lawyer can help you build your case for child support as you navigate through the divorce process. Our New York spousal support lawyers will help you fight for the best interests of you and your children.  If you are considering a divorce call the law offices of Gassman Baiamonte Betts, PC today at 516.228.9181.

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