Skilled Child Support Attorney in New York
All parents are responsible for financially supporting their children. Since child support is to be paid until the children become emancipated (generally at age 21, and possibly later if the children are still attending college) the amount of child support is often a contentious component of a divorce. So, if you have a family law matter involving child support, it is vital that you retain the right attorney to obtain the right child support order.
At Clement Law, we represent parents in cases involving child support. Family law attorney Daniel Clement uses his more than 25 years of experience to provide the practical guidance you need to protect your rights in support matters.
What Is Child Support?
When parents divorce or separate, the "non-custodial" parent (the parent with whom the children do not live) is required to pay a percentage of his or her income to the custodial parent as child support.
In New York, child support covers the children’s necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. The non-custodial parent can also be required to contribute to other expenses, including:
- Unreimbursed medical expenses
- Extracurricular activities
- Special needs expenses
- Childcare expenses
- Educational expenses, including private elementary and high school tuition
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How Is Child Support Calculated?
Child support is calculated using statutory guidelines, which establish the base amount of support that must be paid, based on the parent’s income and the number of children. The add-on expenses are paid in proportion to each of the parents’ incomes.
The child support guidelines are:
- 17% of income for one child
- 25% of income for two children
- 29% of income for three children
- 31% of income for four children
- No less than 35% of income for five or more children
The “basic child support obligation” is calculated by multiplying the “combined parental income” by the appropriate “child support percentage. For child support purposes, “income” is defined as “gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return” less deductions for, among other things, social security and local income taxes.
The court has discretion to deviate from the guidelines in cases where the combined income is in excess of $141,000, or when there are significant reasons for doing so.
Modifying Child Support
Child support can be modified if there is a change in circumstances. Examples of a change in circumstance include a substantial change in the payer's income, a change in the cost of living or an increase in cost for the children's needs.
An Example of the Child Support Guidelines
Let’s suppose a mother is the custodial parent of two children. She has an income of $100,000 after social security and New York City taxes. The father’s income is $150,000 after social security and New York City taxes. The father is the non-custodial parent.
The couple’s combined annual income is $250,000. Since there are two children, the applicable guideline percentage is 25%. The Court would apply the guidelines to the first $141,000 of combined income and may apply the guidelines to the income above $141,000.
If the Court applied the child support guidelines to the parties’ combined $250,000 income, the combined support obligation would be $62,500. The father’s share of the child support payment would be 60% (150/250) of the $62,500 ($37,500 per year or $3,125 per month). Any add-on expenses—for example child care, special needs, or unreimbursed medical expenses—would be apportioned 60% to the father and 40% to the mother.
The example above is simplified, but it shows the general application of the child support guidelines. It is important to consult an experienced child support lawyer to be assured that child support guidelines are properly applied and the payment is correctly calculated in your case.
Get the Help You Need to Understand New York’s Child Support Laws
If you have a child support issue, we are here to help. Contact our family law firm online or call us at 212-683-9551 to discuss your case with a skilled family law attorney.