How is child support calculated in New York?

Child support in New York is calculated pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act ("CSSA") (Domestic Relations Law §240(1-b) and Family Court Act § 413(1)(b)).

To simplify, CSSA provides that unless the court finds that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the "basic child support obligation" to be unjust or inappropriate after considering the ten enumerated factors, it must order the non-custodial parent to pay his or her pro rata share of the "basic child support obligation".

The "basic child support obligation" is calculated by multiplying the "combined parental income" by the appropriate "child support percentage. Income" is defined as "gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return" less deductions for, inter alia, social security and New York City and Yonkers income taxes.

The "child support percentage" is fixed at:

a)17% of the combined parental income for one child;
b)25% of the combined parental income for two children;
c)29% of the combined parental income for three children;
d)31% of the combined parental income for four children; and
e)no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.

Where the combined parental income exceeds $80,000 per year, the court has discretion to depart from the child support percentages as to those portions of income in excess of $80,000.00.

So, what does this really mean? Let’s suppose, a mother, with an income of $30,000 after social security and New York City taxes , is the custodial parent of two children. The Father’s income is $50,000 after social security and New York City taxes

The couple’s combined annual income is $80,000. Since there are two children, the applicable guideline percentage is 25% or $20,000 per year.  The father’s share of the child support payment is 5/8 of $20,000 or $12,500 per year or $1,042 per month.

Where the combined parental income exceeds $80,000 per year, the court has discretion to depart from the child support percentages as to those portions of income in excess of $80,000.00.

In addition to ordering the payment of child support, the Court can order the non-custodial parent to pay his\her pro rata share of the children’s un-reimbursed health care expenses, the child care expenses when the custodial parent is working or attending school, the children’s educational expenses, as well as the costs of extra-curricular activities.

19 Responses

  1. Samuel Valle

    My son has now turned 18 years of age. He is now going to attend colledge. He resides with his mother all this time. I have been paying child support for 17 years. Where do I stand?? The mother has sent me a letter stating she needs help with the $ so that he can go to colledge. I have other children and take home 420.00 (maybe )by-weekly.This is after taxes and child support deductions.I live in the state of pennslyvania and I am paying New york $195.00 Bi-weekly for the support of one.Please advise.

  2. paul

    What happens when the non custodial parent has a previous child from another relationship, how is this factored in?

  3. Ed. Azcona

    I live in europe and have been paying child support for my 2 girls for over 8yrs. My income is a lot less than when I lived in nyc and also have another child here. I pay now $524.00 and soon my eldest will be turning 18 and going to college.Her mother wants me to help with her education but I can’t.I’m having a difficult time to collect for thier support every month not to say for college education..What can you advice me to do??Thanks

  4. Kim

    My husband has been paying child support for his daughter in NYC since 1990. We live in Maryland. Up until she turned 18 last December he was paying through the Maryland Court System. Now that he is no longer required to pay in Maryland, her mother is sueing for support through the NY State System. We have three sons in addition to our daughter. How will this affect what he will pay moving forward.

  5. Thanks for your comment. The mother cannot now seek support in NY.
    See my article at:
    http://divorce.clementlaw.com/2008/02/articles/child-support/outof-state-support-orders-cannot-be-modified-in-new-york/
    Dan Clement

  6. Me

    I have two children 3 and 1 1/2 years old. I am considering separation eventually divorce. I earned more money then my spouse would that have an effect on child support.?

  7. The answer to your question depends on the custodial arrangement. For instance, if custody is equally shared you will be deemed to be the non custodial parent and will have to pay support.

  8. deedee

    My husband has 3 children with me and has 1 child with his prior relationship. We live in NJ and she lives in NYC. She has been receiving support from my husband but now wants more money and is taking him to court. My question is this, does the court consider my children and their expenses? My children range from 0 months, 1 1/5, and 3 years old whereas his son is almost 12 years old. He goes to private schools and is on extra curricular activities. My daughter has to start preschool and that is an extra expense for us. Will the court consider this or will they just give a ridiculous amount of money for one child than 3?

  9. juan

    i owed arrears in child support i hve not pay for 4 years i would like to start paying wthat can i do

  10. Start paying current support. Perhaps you can negotiate a pay-out of the arrears.

  11. Donna

    I have been married for 1.5 years and my husband net around 420K. I haven’t worked since I have been married and have 1 child. Will like to know what type of child support payment am I facing? Will the judge deviate from the 17% of his income due to his high income? I need enough to support my child

  12. alanzo calcano

    My daughter is 18, she still in h.s. she is having differences with her mother,because she not seeing any of the money.I HAVE AN OUT OF COURT AGREEMRNT WITH MY EX WIFE. MY daughter is requesting the check be in here name ,can that be done,or what are the rules of support in that case

  13. RITA

    i HAVE AN 8 YEAR OLD SON WITH A MAN WHO HAS A SON FROM A PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIP. WE WERE NEVER MARRIED. HE IS A RN AND OWNS REAL ESTATE THAT HE RENTS OUT. HE LIVES WITH HIS FATHER RENT FREE. OWNS 2 NEW VEHICLES AND HIDES HIS MONEY IN A S-CORP. I RECEIVE $377 PER MONTH IN CHILD SUPPORT. HE DOESN’T BELIEVE MY SON NEEDS MUCH AND THAT THE MONEY IS NOT FOR MY USE. iS THERE ANY WAY AROUND AN S-CORP FOR SOMEONE MAKING $40 – 45 PER HR AND HAS RENTAL PROPERTY(TWO FAMILY)? THE OTHER MOTHER GETS $400. HE HAS TO BE MAKING AT LEAST $95K A YEAR AS A RN.

  14. JANE

    I AM LOOKING TO LEAVE MY DAUGHTERS FATHER WE ARE NOT MARRIED AND HAVE ONE CHILD TOGETHER. WE WANT TO SETTLE ON MNEY OUT OF COURT WITH A LAWYER. I AM ALSO APPLYING FOR A GRANT TO HELP WITH CHILD CARE. IF I DONT GO TO COURT AND GET CHILD SUPPORT BUT DO HAVE LAWYERS PAPERS STATING HE PAYS ME X AMOUNT OF DOLLARS AMOTH IS THAT OK??

  15. Crystl

    We have a situation in which the child is over 18 years old. We have not seen him only once in the last two years. His custodial parent refuses to talk to us, we do not know if he is in college as he barely graduated from high school. I am tired of the sending child support but am not sure of the legal age limit. Does anyone know?

  16. ????

    17% of 420K and your worried about being able to support your one child? Thats over $100K! Than more than double the average combined income in the U.S for most familys? Hell its well over what me and my wife make combined.
    Never mind the fact you’ll get half of his assets since your marriage unless there was a prenuptial.
    Sounds like your only concern is settling for a mid level Mercedes over top of the line.

  17. yes

    Settling out of court saves allot of lawyers fees If hes willing to give you fair amount it’ll hold up just as well as a court order. If he low balls you can always go for more later.
    Mediators are suppose to be non partial they will be able to tell you if he’s giving you less than the state requires.

  18. Nelson

    I missed a child support appointment in Long Island 4 years ago. The judge penalized me by forcing me to pay an outrageous amount in child support for only one child. How can I fight this? I have other children and I can’t afford to provide so much money to only one of my children. I earn about $2500 a month before taxes, and they are taking about $1000. The mother earns around 100k per year. I need someone to guide me in the right direction.

  19. Cisco

    I’ve been paying child support for three kids now for 6yrs at 29%. My question is i have’nt got a raise since child support began, but my kids mom has gotten a raise since then…. a hundred dollars more a week on her pay since then, should i take her back to court and see if they lower my payments since my income has’nt increase and hers have???

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