Child Support and Divorce in New York: How Much Will I Have to Pay?

If your marriage is ending, you probably have questions about child support and divorce in New YorkChild support and divorce in New York are definitely intertwined, and early in your divorce case, a child support amount may be ordered.  If your soon-to-be ex-spouse has physical custody of your children, you will be ordered to pay child support.  Many paying parents worry that the ordered child support amounts will be excessive.  However, courts will not order a parent to pay a child support amount that is grossly unfair.  If you can demonstrate than an ordered amount of child support is unfair, it may be reduced.

First, the courts look at the incomes of the parties.  To do that, you and your spouse will provide proof of your gross incomes.  The court will then adjust these incomes to account for the amounts you pay in city taxes and FICA (social security and medicare).  Then, child support payments will be based on the number of children you have.  For example, if you have one child, you will pay 17% in child support.  If you have two children, you will pay 25%, and so on.  The payor spouse is the non-custodial parent and the amount that would be paid is determined by a statutory formula in the Child Support Standards Act.

For example, where one spouse is earning $60,000 and the other is earning $40,000, after city taxes and FICA have been deducted from the gross income, the calculation would be as follows:

$60,000 + $40,000 = $100,000

Where these parents have one child, the basic child support amount is 17% of the combined parental income, or $17,000.  Then each parent’s share is determined by their respective income in relation to their combined income.  So, the higher earning spouse’s share is 60% and the lower earning spouse’s share is 40%.  Depending upon who is the non-custodial parent, that parent will pay their share of the basic child support amount.  So, in this example, if the non-custodial parent is the higher earning spouse, then that parent would be responsible for 60% of the $17,000 basic child support amount, or $10,200 annually, or $850 monthly.  If there are two children, the calculation would be the same:

$100,000 x 25% = $25,000 is the basic child support amount.  If the higher earning spouse is the non-custodial parent that parent would be responsible for 60% of the basic child support amount, or $15,000 annually, or $1,250 monthly.

However, the percentage of one’s gross income is not the only number considered in child support calculations.  If your children have certain childcare, educational, after-school activities and medical expenses (such as the cost of health insurance), your share of these expenses will be added to the child support amount.

Though these numbers may seem high, the courts want to ensure that children have the financial support of both parents, even though they no longer live together.  If the court determines that, after paying child support, your net income would be at or below federal poverty guidelines, it will be adjusted.  If you and your spouse’s combined income is over $141,000, the court has discretion to deviate from these guidelines. 

Contact Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971 should you have any questions about your support obligations and would like to consult with an attorney.

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