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How is child support calculated?

In New York, child support owed by the non-custodial parent is calculated according to the Child Support Standards Act. This mandates that non-custodial parents pay a fixed percentage of income to the custodial parent until the child turns 21. For one child, it is 17 percent; for two, it is 25 percent; for three, it is 29 percent; for four, it is 31 percent; for five or more, it is 35 percent.

The non-custodial parent must also include the children on health insurance plans if they are provided by employment. In addition, this parent must pay a share of reasonable childcare expenses if the custodial parent must work or attend a job-training program, a share of uninsured health care expenses such as co-pays or non-covered visits and a share of educational costs. This share is determined by the non-custodial parent's income relative to the custodial parent's income.

Obligation to pay child support begins as soon as the custodial parent files for child support. Child support may also include prenatal expenses associated with pregnancy and birth. In some circumstances, the non-custodial parent may not have to pay the full amount decreed by the Child Support Standards Act. This will be determined by the Hearing Examiner in the family court, notably if the child support payment requirements would put the parent under 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for one.

A family law attorney may be able to provide assistance in planning for making child support payments. By drafting an agreement that is favorable to both parties and advocating for a client, an attorney may help a parent achieve a satisfactory financial agreement regarding child custody and child support. An attorney may also be able to represent a client in court before a judge. The information in this article is not to be construed as specific legal advice.

Source: New York City Bar, "How much will the non-custodial parent be ordered to pay?", November 19, 2014

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