If you are wondering how to file for child support in New York, or how much child support you should be getting or paying, you have come to the right place. So long as paternity has already been established by an Order of Filiation, or by an Acknowledgment of Paternity, the process starts by filing a child support petition with the Family Court. The parties will then receive a court date to appear before a Family Court Support Magistrate. The parties with their respective attorneys will then try to work out an agreement on support. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will set the case for trial, and the Support Magistrate will decide how much support is to be paid.
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-three thousand dollars of combined parental income. Income is based on the most recent income tax return. There are also other deductions besides FICA that include the New York City Tax and Yonkers Tax.
The non-custodial parent's annual "basic child support obligation" is generally calculated by multiplying the non-custodial parent's "percentage of combined gross income", by the combined gross incomes of the parents, less: the non-cusodial parent's annual payment to FICA (usually .0765 of gross income), multiplied by the appropriate "child support percentage". A parent's "percentage of combined gross income" = the parent's gross income divided by the combined gross incomes of both parents.
Child support stops when a child reaches the age of 21 or is earlier emancipated. The parents may agree to support their children beyond the age of 21, for example, until the children graduate from college.
In addition to the payment of the "basic child support" obligation, typically the agreement provides that one parent will be responsible for providing healthcare 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.
The parents are free to Opt-Out of the child support law, 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.