How is child support calculated in New York?
In New York, child support is determined under the guidelines of the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), and consists of two main elements: basic child support and “add-ons.” Basic child support is calculated by multiplying both parents’ combined income by the appropriate child support percentage. This percentage is determined by the number of children that require financial support. Currently, the child support percentage is fixed at:
- 17% of the combined income for one child
- 25% of the combined income for two children
- 29% of the combined income for three children
- 31% of the combined income for four children
- No less than 35% for five children or more
The child support obligation that is subsequently determined would be divided between the parents based on their contribution to the “combined parental income.” If your income makes up 30% of the combined income, the other spouse would be responsible for paying the other 70% of the child support obligation. Payments would be made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.
What if the other parent refuses to pay child support?
If your ex-spouse fails to pay support as required by a court order or divorce decree, an experienced lawyer in New York can assist with child support enforcement actions. Under the law, the custodial parent has a right to this support, regardless of the status of child custody or visitation issues. If circumstances change, such as a material increase or decrease income, either party may petition for modifications to support. All of the same rules apply regarding child support when a same-sex marriage ends.
If I lost my job, do I still have to pay child support?
If your child support arrangement is no longer practical, either because you have fallen ill, lost your job or experienced a dramatic decrease in income, you have the option to request a modification from the court. However, it is important to understand that you cannot petition the court for a decrease simply because you are having difficulty making your payments each month. You must be able to show that a substantial and lasting change in circumstances has affected your ability to pay child support.
Can I seek child support even if we were never married?
Both parents, regardless of whether or not they were ever married, are required to provide financial support for their child. This means that you would still have the right to seek child support from the other parent if you have primary custody of the child; however, unwed mothers may need to establish paternity first. In order to do so, you may need to compel the father to take a DNA test. On the same note, fathers can also choose to take a paternity test if they wish to exercise their visitation or custody rights.
If you require assistance in the midst of a dispute regarding child support, are interested in creating a workable child support arrangement in or outside of Court, or need help with child support enforcement, one of our experienced New York Family Court attorneys can help.
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