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Child Support Laws

What Is Child Support?

Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.

Child support is handled on a state level, and New York has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in New York, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.

New York Child Support Law Summary

New York is one of the minority of states that uses the "percentage of income" method for calculating child support payments.

In the event of parents sharing custody of a child, the New York judge who sets child support may deviate from the basic child support formula to account for this. Other special situations accounted for under New York's child support law include childcare costs. These costs may be additions to the basic New York child support order.

What Steps are Taken Once Child Support is Declared?

When child support is declared, the court will order a relative to notify the other party, or the other party and the support collection unit when the order is issued on behalf of a child recieving public assistance and care, of any change in health insurance benefits, including any termination of benefits, change in the health insurance benefit carrier, premium, or extent and availability of existing or new benefits.

How does Public Assistance and Care Factor into it?

When the court issues an order of child support or combined child and spousal support on behalf a person receiving public assistance and care, such an order will further direct health care benefits that will be immediately enforced in following civil practice law and rules.

What if Neither Parents Have Health Insurance?

If neither parent has available health insurance benefits, the court will direct the custodial parent to apply for the state's child health insurance plan.

New York Child Support Calculation Formula Methods

Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in New York family court through a child support order. In New York, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.

Income Share Method

Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.

Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.

New York does not use the income share method to calculate child support

Percentage Of Income Method

This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.

Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.

New York does use the percentage of income method to calculate child support

New York Child Support Frequently Asked Questions

How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in New York?

All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.

New York law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody agreement as justification for a variation from the state's general child support calculations. This means that if the non-custodial parent shares parenting time with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support owed to account for the resources spent by the non-custodial parent during their time with the child.

How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in New York?

Unlike most states, New York has no special provisions for extraordinary medical costs in their child support guidelines. The cost of medical care is lumped in to other costs of providing for the child when child support calculations are being made.

How are child care costs treated by child support in New York?

Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, New York has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.

New York treats child care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.

Does child support cover college education expenses in New York?

While the state of New York has no explicit requirement for college expenses to be covered under child support, support for college expense by the non-custodial parent may be voluntarily agreed to by both parties, after which it is contractually enforceable.

How is child support enforced in New York?

In the state of New York, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.

What are child support arrears?

Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of New York welfare benefits, or other collection methods.

How are child support payments taxed in New York?

Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. New York tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.

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