New York has adopted the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) for the purposes of calculating child support payments. New York statutes explain to parents that each of them has a responsibility for the primary needs of the child including food, shelter, and clothing. This is known as basic support and is the obligation of both parent. The calculations can be confusing.
Determining basic child support
To determine child support obligations the courts will use the income of both parents up to $143,000 for 2017. This amount is scheduled to increase on an annual basis. The parent’s income, including from wages, social security income, fringe benefits, and more are considered as part of the income. Certain deductions, such as supplemental security income, FICA taxes, and support payments made to children from prior marriages, or relationships may also be deducted. It is imperative, if you are uncertain about the amount you may be obligated to pay, you speak with a New York child support attorney.
Once both parent’s income is calculated, there is a formula that is applied; the parent’s share of the child’s basic support is done on a pro-rated basis depending on the percentage of income of the parent. For example, if you earn $50,000, and your ex-spouse or soon to be ex, earns $100,000, your obligation will be one-third of the total awarded amount (100,000+50,000 = 150,000/50,000 = 3).
Beyond basic child support
There are other adjustments which may be made to child support calculations. Some of these include the cost of day care for the custodial parent to seek, or attend work, medical expenses uncovered by insurance, and educational expenses. The division of allowable expenses are also calculated in proportion to the level of income of the parent.
At any time, the ratio could change if one parent changes jobs, and is earning more or less, or if a parent loses their job. It is important to note that the courts look dimly upon a parent who deliberately decreases their income to decrease the child support amount they are liable for. Most parents can get an estimate of what amount of child support they may be liable for by using our simple child support calculator.
Child support obligations in New York
Couples with one child will be required to allocate 17 percent of their income towards the child support of one minor child. In the event there are multiple minor children from the same marriage, this amount will increase proportionally. In the event one, or both parents has other children, from other relationships, they are required to pay support for, the calculations will be slightly different. Your child support attorney can tell you more about this.
It is also important to keep in mind that in cases of joint custody, the courts will use the same calculations; the parent who has the child the lesser amount of time will be treated as the non-custodial parent.
High income and child support
It is important to be aware that if one parent has income in excess of the maximum amount used for calculations, the court may make alternative orders. This is generally done by calculating the percentage of support the higher income earner made and using that percentage to award support on the remaining income.
Taxes and child support payments
Parents who are paying child support are not entitled to deduct such payments on their taxes; parents in receipt of support need not claim support payments as income either. It is in the best interests of the parents to work out, ahead of time, which parent will claim the minor child, or children, on their taxes. This is typically laid out in the final divorce decree.
Child support modifications
During 2010, changes were made to child support under New York statutes. Parents who have not had an order reviewed since this time are encouraged to discuss possible modification with a child support attorney. The threshold for changes for those orders issued after October 2010, are different. One of two circumstances must be proven; either the income of one parent must have changed by at least 15 percent since the order was signed or modified, or three years have passed since modification or signing.
Should a parent be requesting a modification because they have lost their job, they will be obligated to demonstrate to the court the job loss was through no fault of their own, and they have sought work that offers a commensurate salary.
Non-custodial parents must not hide assets, underclaim their income, or take other steps to reduce the income the state uses to make child support calculations. If you believe this is occurring, you should discuss this with your child support attorney.
Attorneys Yonatan Levoritz, Karolina Krasnyanskaya, and Ravi Patel have extensive experience dealing with a range of child support issues in New York. For a confidential consultation, contact us today.