Child Support

Child support is a basic obligation that runs from parent to child. Usually it is the non-custodial parent that pays child support to the custodial parent. The child support obligation includes child-related expenses, such as the child’s health insurance and medical costs, educational expenses, and child care while the custodial parent is at work or school. The amount of child support is based on the income of both parents.
Duration of Child Support
Ordinarily, you must pay child support under New York law until your child reaches the age of 21. The age of majority is 18 for custody, visitation, and other purposes, but remains 21 for purposes of paying child support.
Child support may be suspended or terminated if a child older than 16 becomes emancipated by living apart from both parents without a need for foster care, by becoming financially self-supporting, or by marriage or entry into military service. Even in these circumstances, you will need to ask the same court that made your child support order to allow you to stop making payments because of your child’s emancipation.
Amount of Child Support
The amount of child support is determined by both parents’ net income per year and the number of children for whom the parents are responsible. The amount of "net" income is equal to gross income from all sources minus a limited number of permitted deductions.  Where spousal support ("maintenance") is being paid from one spouse to the other, the amount thereof is factored into the equation before calculating child support.  Gross income is defined as income from all sources.  The permissible deductions from gross income are (1) unreimbursed employee business expenses; (2) alimony or maintenance actually paid to non-party spouse pursuant to court order or agreement; (3) child support actually paid pursuant to court order or agreement for non-party child; (4) public assistance (if included in gross income); (5) supplemental social security income (if included in gross income); (6) N.Y.C. or Yonkers taxes; (7) FICA Social Security taxes; and (8) FICA Medicare taxes. 

If the parents’ combined net income is $148,000 or less (as of January 1, 2018 – the amount changes every two years), the court follows a simple formula set out in the Child Support Standards Act. If the combined income is more than $148,000, the court could use the same formula for all income or just up to $148,000.
In applying the formula to come up with a basic child support obligation, the court adds the income of both parents and multiplies it by the appropriate child support percentage (based on the number of children). The percentages are:
• 17% of the combined parental income for one child,
• 25% of the combined parental income for two children,
• 29% of the combined parental income for three children,
• 31% of the combined parental income for four children, and
• no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.
Your income for purposes of this calculation is your "gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return." There are required deductions from gross income like alimony, public assistance, supplemental security, and New York City and Yonkers income taxes actually paid.
In addition to the basic child support obligation, the court may require additional payments to cover child care costs if the custodial parent is working or going to school and for the child’s reasonable health care expenses. These payments are prorated at the same percentage as the support obligation. The court may also order payment for the child’s education.
Combined Income Above $148,000

If the combined parental income is more than $148,000 per year, the court could use the same formula as above for all of the combined income. Or, the court could use the formula for only the first $148,000 of combined income, and then decide how much (if any) of the remainder to award by considering the following factors:
•       the financial resources of the child and each parent
•       the child’s physical and emotional health and any special needs and aptitudes
•       the standard of living the child would  have enjoyed if not for the divorce
•       the tax consequences to each spouse
•       the non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of the child
•       the educational needs of either parent
•       whether one parent’s gross income is substantially less than the other parent's gross income, and
•       the needs of any other children of the non-custodial parent for whom that parent  is  providing  support. (This factor may be considered only if the other children are not the subjects of the instant action and their support has not been deducted from the parent’s income.)
Child Support by Agreement
The parties may agree to a child support that is different than the support amount provided by the guidelines.  You both can waive the basic child support obligations as long as the waiver is in writing, states what the basic child support obligation would have been, and states the reasons why your agreement should be adopted instead. Your agreement must also recite that you have been advised of Domestic Relations Law § 240 (1-b) and Family Court Act § 413(1)(b) and that the basic child support obligation would presumptively result in the correct amount of child support to be awarded. Even when there’s an agreement, it’s not valid until approved by the court.

Fairfield County Child Support Lawyer

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