Child Support

In New York State, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent for the support, maintenance and education of the child or children. Voluntary gifts, clothes, vacations, etc. are not considered “child support “.

Child support usually terminates when the child reaches the age of 21. It may end earlier in certain situations. A child will become emancipated in New York State when he or she marries, joins the armed services, or establishes a separate residence and is self-supporting. The parents may agree amongst themselves for child support to extend beyond the age of 21, often continuing until the child graduates from college, or, reaches the age of 22 years old.

Child support in New York is governed by Domestic Relations Law §240(1-b) and Family Court Act § 413, commonly referred to as the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”).  The CSSA determines the appropriate percentage to apply for calculation of child support to the gross income of the non-custodial parent, as well as establishing pro rata shares of daycare and un-reimbursed medical expenses. The “basic child support obligation” is calculated by multiplying the “combined parental income”, in which the gross incomes of both parents are considered by fixed percentage depending on the number of children and adjusting for each parent’s percentage of the combined parental income. A non-custodial parent’s “child support percentage” obligation is fixed as follows:

– One child- 17% of the combined parental income

– Two children- 25% of the combined parental income

– Three children- 29% of the combined parental income

– Four children- 31% of the combined parental income

– Five children- no less than 35% of the combined parental income

The courts can also order that, in addition to their basic child support obligation, the non-custodial parent pay their pro rata share of the child’s reasonable future healthcare expenses which are not covered by health insurance, and reasonable child care expenses while the custodial parent is at work or school. A non-custodial parent may also be ordered to pay the present or future expenses of the child’s private, special or enriched education, if the courts find it to be just and proper.

If the non-custodial parent willfully refuses to pay his or her court-ordered child support, the courts may enforce child support orders by any of the following means:

– Obtaining a judgment against the non-custodial parent

– Garnishment of wages

– Wage deduction

– Income execution

– Liens on property

– Contempt or imprisonment

*Child support arrears are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy proceeding in New York State*

Until the time that the child reaches the age of 21, or becomes emancipated, the court has the power to modify child support, custody or visitation, in the event of a change in circumstances. A modification of a child support order could result in an increase or decrease in the non-custodial parent’s support obligation. The remarriage of either parent does not typically constitute a change in circumstances.

We have litigated countless cases involving imputation of income, capturing hidden cash income and obtaining maximum child support awards for a custodial parent.