How Is Child Support Calculated?

Child support ensures that children receive necessities like clothing, education, housing, and medical care. In certain circumstances, it is possible to opt out of the statutory percentages. Once a support order is in place, it may be difficult to make major changes to it, but we will work with you to seek a final order that is fair and supports the needs of your children.

How much child support do you have to pay? In New York, it depends on how much the noncustodial parent earns, what his or her allowable deductions are, and how many children are in the family. While children reach adulthood in New York at age 18, parents still are required to support their un-emancipated children until they reach the age of 21, and sometimes until they turn 22. The amount to be paid is a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net income. For child support purposes, however, net income is not the same as net take-home pay.

What Are The percentages Per Child?

The New York State support percentages are:

  • One child:  17 percent
  • Two children: 25 percent
  • Three children: 29 percent
  • Four children: 31 percent
  • Five or more children: 35 percent (minimum)

These percentages apply to income up to a statutory amount which may change each year. Above that amount, the parents may elect to use the percentages, or they may arrive at a different amount based on 10 factors listed in the statute.

What Does New York State consider To Be Income In Child Support Cases?

Income includes:

  • Wages
  • Investment income
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Disability benefits
  • Unemployment insurance benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • Veterans benefits
  • Pension or retirement income
  • Fellowships and stipends
  • Annuity payments
  • Income voluntarily reduced to avoid child support
  • Income voluntarily deferred.

Are There Allowable Deductions?

The allowable deduction to determine net income for child support purposes are:

  • Expenses of investment income
  • Un-reimbursed business expenses that do not reduce personal expenditures
  • Alimony or maintenance actually paid to a former spouse
  • Alimony or maintenance paid to the other parent, but only if child support will increase when maintenance stops.
  • Child support actually paid to other children the parent is legally obligated to support.
  • Public assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • New York City or Yonkers income or earning taxes actually paid
  • Social Security taxes (FICA) actually paid.

Note that New York State income tax is not deductible for child support purposes. In addition, the deductions create a disadvantage for children of, for example, the second divorced wife against the children of the first divorced wife of the same husband.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

It is important to receive child support payments on time and in full. If your children’s other parent is behind on payments or refusing to pay, we can help you begin the enforcement process.

Modifying Child Support Payments

If your life changes in a  way that makes you unable to uphold your existing child support order — whether because of serious health problems, job loss, or something else — it is important to work with an attorney before you stop paying. We will guide you through the process of seeking a modification that fits your new financial situation.

Contact us today for more information about child support. 516 319-2000.