Child Support in New York
New York State law requires that both parents financially support their child until the child turns 21 years old, or is considered and/or determined emancipated, i.e. the child is married, self-supporting, or in the military. This required support includes providing health insurance coverage.
Child support is the money that a non-custodial parent (the parent not living with the child) pays to the custodial parent (this is the parent who has physical custody of the child) for the support of a child that is under 21. The Supreme Court, during a divorce proceeding, or the Family Court as part of a child support proceeding may make this award (the parties/parents may also voluntarily / mutually enter into a stipulation, taking into account the following statutory requirements).
The amount of support that is mandated is based on a specific and strict formula that is set out in the Child Support Standards Chart.
This is called basic child support. The amount of support is based on the combined net income of both parents. During contested divorce proceedings in Supreme Court, both parties are required to disclose their incomes, the same is true during a child support proceeding in a Family Court. The combined net income (this is the total gross income, minus certain specific deductions like NYC income tax, FICA, and other child support payments) of both parents is then multiplied by a specific basic statutory percentage based on the number of children:
One child = 17%
Two Children = 25%
Three Children = 29%
Four Children = 31%
Five Children or more = 35% (at a minimum)
The result is then divided by each parent’s proportionate net income.
For example: After allowable deductions, Parent A earns $60,000 while Parent B earns $40,000. Their total combined income is $100,000. The parties have one child. The parents’ combined income is then multiplied by the required percentage, $100,000 x 17% = $17,000 per year, basic combined support. Parent A, is the non-custodial parent, and their share of child support for the child = 60% of the total support, or $10,200 a year.
When parties earn above a certain cap amount, the Court may order support in an amount greater than the above mandated percentages, to preserve the child’s current standard of living, and/or based on the best interest of the child.
In addition to basic child support, as calculated above, parents may also, under certain circumstances, be required to pay child care expenses, educational expenses, and medical expenses.
Child support can also be set out by the parents, by written stipulation, but the amount must comply with New York’s statutory requirements or a Court can refuse it.