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Child Support

A parent who lives with a child or children for more than 50% of the overnights for the purposes of child support in New York you are called the “custodial parent.”If you spend less than 50% of the overnight with your child, you are called the “non-custodial parent.” InNew York State, non-custodial parents must provide financial assistance forthe children who live with the custodial parents.  Even in cases where there is “Joint Custody” and the children and the overnight are split equally between the parents in New York State the court will still order one parent,usually the parent who is the higher wage earner, to pay child support to the otherparent.  However there can be adjustments made to the amount of support to account fora joint custody situation.

In New York, the amount of Child Support owed is calculated according to a law called the Child SupportStandards Act (CSSA).Under the CSSA, non-custodial parents will be ordered to pay a percentage oftheir gross income, minus certain deductions, until the child reaches the ageof 21 or earlier under some circumstances.Deductions are made for Social Security and Medicaretaxes that paid, and for New York City or Yonkers income tax that may be paid.  There are also other allowable deductions including any child and spousal support that the non-custodialparent is already paying, under a prior court order or written agreement. The amount of support paid from the non-custodial parents income are currently 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for threechildren, 31% for four children, and at least 35% for five or more children.

The non-custodial parents may also be ordered to cover the children on theirhealth insurance plans, if one is available to them through their employment.The non-custodial parent must also pay a “pro rata” share of reasonablechildcare expenses if the custodial parent needs childcare because she or heis working or attending school or a job-training program. (“Pro rata” meansbased on the non-custodial parent’s income, relative to the custodial parent’scombined parental income. For example, if the non-custodial parent makes$90,000 a year, and the custodial parent makes $30,000 a year, the non-custodialparent would have to pay 75% of the cost of the childcare and the custodial parent would have to pay 25%.) The noncustodialparent must also be required to pay a pro rata share of the child’sunreimbursed health care expenses. Unreimbursed means not covered byinsurance. As with many insurance plans, you have to make aco-payment when a child visits the doctor; the non-custodial parent canbe ordered to pay for a share of that expense.The non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay a share of childcare expenses ifthe custodial parent needs childcare because they are looking for work. The noncustodialparent may also be ordered to pay a share of the child’s educationalcosts such as private school or college tuition.  In mediation we discuss these costs and help the parents discuss whether to follow these guidelines or deviate from them to suit their own circumstances and parent in the way that best suits the family as a whole.

Topics may include:

  • Contractual recalculation of child support due to increase in salary or number of years
  • Recalculation of child support due to substantial change of circumstance
  • Mandatory add on child support percentage recalculation
  • Discretionary add on child support recalculation
  • College costs
  • Reduction in child support due to child living on campus (double shelter allowance)
  • Cost of living increases
  • Child support arrears