Perhaps the most important elements of any family law case involving children, second to visitation rights, is child support. Child support is a court-ordered financial maintenance of a child. Child support laws across the nation impose a legal obligation on a parent to support a child, up to age 21, regardless of whether the child lives with the parent. For these reasons, it is important to hire a knowledgeable New York child custody attorney if you or someone you know is going through a difficult divorce where both parties can’t agree to child support payment terms.

How Child Support is Calculated

In New York state, child support is calculated under two laws: the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) and the Family Court Act.

Under the CSSA, unless the court finds the non-custodial parent’s share of the basic child support obligation is unreasonable, it must order this amount to be paid by that parent. This basic child support obligation is calculated by multiplying the parents’ combined income by the appropriate child support percentage. These percentages are as follows:

  • One child – 17%
  • Two children – 25%
  • Three children – 29%
  • Four children – 31%
  • Five or more children – 35%

Child support may include cash payments based on the parents’ income and the child’s needs, health insurance and/or medical support, child care payments, educational and extracurricular expenses, as well as reasonable healthcare costs not covered by insurance.

Factors to Consider

Each parent must complete a statement of net worth that details income, expenses, assets, debts and property and provide it to the court. Several factors should be taken into account when calculating child support.

Income levels, for example, may affect how much child support owed by a parent. Specifically, as of March of 2015 where the total income of both parents exceeds the combined parental income amount of $141,000 the law allows the use of child support percentages in calculating the obligation on income above this amount.

Parents who are unemployed – or underemployed – may have income imputed by a court based on the amount it believes the individual should be earning. The burden is on the parent to show the court diligent efforts to make a living. Likewise, if these financial circumstances are due to a disability, expert testimony may be needed to establish this.

In addition to paying child support, the court may also order a non-custodial parent to pay the pro-rate share of the children’s unreimbursed expenses relating to health care, education, extracurricular activities, as well as child care expenses while the custodial parent is at work or school.

New York Child Custody Attorney

A New York child custody attorney can help you and your family gets back on track financially, after a divorce. Making the decision to get a divorce is a weighty and difficult one; it should be pursued after careful consideration of several concerns and factors. This is because divorce touches all aspects of life, not just family. Accordingly, contacting a skilled New York child custody attorney prior to making any decision is vital. Knowing your rights and specific New York statutes in place is imperative during divorce negotiations. The attorneys at Alatsas Law Firm have provided legal advice to clients in the Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan and Long Island areas for years. Call today (718)-233-2903 to schedule your initial free case consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection