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How Is Child Support Calculated in New York?


When parents of minor children divorce or separate in New York, one of the parents may be ordered to provide financial support to make sure the child’s needs are met. The court uses a guideline set out by the state to determine how much the non-custodial parent will pay. The payment is based on the non-custodial parent’s income as well as the number of children. Higher incomes and more children generally mean larger child support payments. Child support can represent a significant financial responsibility for payers and financial resource for recipients. Let’s take a look at how child support is calculated in New York.

A financial advisor can help you determine how much child support is likely to be ordered using state guidelines.

Child Support Concepts

Child support consists of financial support contributed by the noncustodial parent following a divorce involving minor children. These contributions may consist of making cash payments to the other parent, as well as paying for the child’s health insurance, child care and health care costs not covered by insurance. Payments covering the costs of extracurricular and other activities of the child may also be included at the court’s discretion. In New York, parents must shoulder the responsibility of supporting children until the age of 21.

Every state’s laws provide for child support, but the states use different methods to calculate child support. Under New York’s child support law, noncustodial parents’ child support obligations are calculated as a percentage of income using two factors. The first factor is the noncustodial parent’s income minus eligible expenses. The second factor is the number of children.

Instead of the percentage of income approach for determining child support, some states use an income shares model that tries to determine who much parents would have spent on a child if they had not split up. Whatever the method, the goal is to provide children with a standard of living similar to the one they would have if their parents were still a couple.

How Is Child Support Calculated in New York?

How child support is calculated in New York differs from other states.

Couples contemplating divorce in New York can estimate the child support likely to be ordered by the court using the following process:

  1. Determine gross income of the non-custodial parent. This figure can be found in the most recent year’s tax return and includes salary as well as all others forms of income.
  2. Adjust gross income by subtracting relevant and eligible deductions. These may include income taxes, FICA withholding and self-employment tax, retirement contributions, health insurance premiums, union dues and court-ordered alimony or child support paid to previous partners.
  3. Using the number of children, determine the percentage of combined adjusted income that will go for child support. The state provides guidelines for the percentage depending on the number of children:
    • One child: 17%
    • Two children: 25%
    • Three children: 29%
    • Four children: 31%
    • Five or more children: 35%
  4. Multiply the non-custodial parent’s adjusted income by the indicated percentage to arrive at the total basic child support payment amount.

Example of How Child Support Is Calculated in New York

If parents with one minor child divorce in New York, here’s how the calculation might look if the noncustodial parent earned $80,000 after eligible expenses:

  1. Start with the adjusted income of $80,000.
  2. Use the state guidelines to determine the percentage of income. For one child, this is 17%.
  3. Multiply $80,000 times 17% to get $13,600. This is the non-custodial parent’s annual child support obligation.

This basic support amount can be modified by considering additional costs for child care, medical care and education. These expenses may be shared equally by both parents, but the court could order a different split.

Additional Considerations

Different rules may apply when parents share custody equally. Then the parents’ combined adjusted incomes and the percentage of time each is responsible for caring for their child or children are also considered.

It’s worth noting that these guidelines are only standard on combined parental incomes up to $183,000. In higher-income cases, the court may use a different method to calculate child support owed in New York.

Parents can also agree to their own child support amount without resorting to a court order. When they do this, they can agree to another amount that’s different than the one calculated according to the New York state guidelines.

Bottom Line

Ex-partners co-parenting after calculating child support in New York.

How child support is calculated in New York depends on the percentage of the noncustodial parent’s gross income after deductions for eligible and relevant expenses. The percentage used is determined by the number of affected minor children, and ranges from 17% for one child to 35% for five or more children. Using this approach means that higher incomes and more children generally mean larger child support payments. Other expenses may also be considered, and different guidelines can apply in high-income cases, as well as when parents share custody equally.

Child Support Tips

  • Having an accurate estimate of child support payments can help both custodial and non-custodial parents prepare an accurate budget for life following divorce or separation. A financial advisor can help you generate one. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You can use SmartAsset’s New York paycheck calculator to estimate your take-home pay after federal, state and local income taxes and other deductions and withholding.

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