NYS Child Support Laws

The Child Support payable in New York State can be very complicated to calculate, (use the NYS Child Support Calculator), and is usually paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of the children. The "Custodial Parent" of a child, is the parent that has the child for a majority of the overnights during the year. It is not based on legal custody or decision-making power. If the parents have an equal number of overnights, the party with the lower income is deemed to be the "custodial parent" see Leonard v Leonard (4th dept),2013 NY Slip Op 04916 [109 AD3d 126], Rubin v Della Salla (1st Dept), 2013 NY Slip Op 02681 [107 AD3d 60].

The amount payable is governed by the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) of the State of New York. The CSSA takes into account the gross incomes of both parents, and the appropriate deductions for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), or SECA (if self-employed). There may be other deductions for maintenance paid, and city taxes. The CSSA contemplates the first one-hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars of combined parental income (as of 2018, but adjusted every two years).

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  • The "child support percentage" is fixed as follows:
  • 17% for one child.
  • 25% for two children.
  • 29% for three children.
  • 31% for four children.
  • no less than 35% for five or more children.

The NYS Child Support Age limit is 21 years of age, or if the child is earlier emancipated. The parents may agree to support their children beyond the age of 21, for example, until the children graduate from college. Child support also may stop if there is a change of custody or in the case of parental alienation.

The parents are free to Opt-Out of the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), however, any agreement must set forth the amount that is supposed to be paid pursuant to the CSSA, and the reasons for deviating from the formula.

In addition to the payment of the "basic child support" obligation stated above, typically the agreement provides that one parent will be responsible for providing health insurance for the children so long as it is available through his or her employment.

Usually each parent will also be responsible for paying their pro-rata share of the children's uninsured medical and dental costs. The pro-rata share is equal to the parent's percentage of combined gross income.

Often the parent's also agree to pay their pro-rata share of the childcare expenses incurred while the custodial parent is working or attending school. The pro-rata share is equal to the parent's percentage of combined gross income.

Lastly, the non-custodial parent may also agree to purchases a life insurance policy on his or her life, naming the custodial parent or the children as irrevocable beneficiaries, to secure future support payments.

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