How Child Support is Determined in New York
In New York, child support is governed by the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). Under the CSSA, the following steps must be taken to determine basic child support:
1) Determine Parental Income – The first step in the determination of child support is the calculation of both parents’ income. For purposes of determining child support, parental income is separated into the following categories:
a) Mandatory Income – Under the CSSA, mandatory income consists of:
- Gross income;
- Investment income;
- Income from disability benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance benefits, veteran benefits, social security benefits, pensions, retirement benefits, fellowships, stipends, and annuity payments.
b) Additional Income – Under the CSSA, additional income consists of:
- Assets that don’t produce income
- Non-monetary employment compensation
- Fringe employment benefits
- Goods, services, or funds provided by relatives and friends
- Certain depreciation deductions
- Travel and entertainment allowances deducted from business income
c) Maintenance – Any maintenance received by a spouse is added to his or her income.
d) Imputed Income – If the court determines that a parent has intentionally reduced his or her income in order to avoid child support obligations, then it may impute additional income to the parent based on his or her previous income or resources.
2) Make Deductions from Parental Income – After total parental income has been calculated, the following deductions must be made:
- Certain business expenses
- Maintenance paid to a non-party spouse
- Child support paid to a non-party child
- Public assistance
- New York City income
- Pair earnings taxes
- Supplemental security income
- FICA taxes
3) Calculate Child Support – After the above steps have been taken, child support is calculated as follows:
a) Child Support for Combined Income under a Specific Amount – When the combined income of the parents is below a specific statutory amount, child support is calculated based on the application of percentages detailed in statute.
b) Child Support for Combined Income above a Specific Amount – When the combined income of the parents is above a certain statutory amount, child support is calculated based on specific statutory guidelines.
4) Calculate Each Parent’s Pro Rata Child Support Share – Following the determination of combined basic child support, each party’s share is then prorated in the same manner as the combined parental income above.
New York Legal Representation
In New York, divorce and legal separation are complicated processes, and issues such as child support only add to this complexity. Therefore, if you are considering pursuing either of these options, please contact an experienced New York family law attorney to discuss your options. At O’Connell and Aronowitz, our matrimonial and family law practice offers experienced counsel to both individuals and families. Our experienced New York family law attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving complex custody, visitation, and support issues in many counties throughout the state. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.
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