Information about how child support is determined, the amount of support you can except, duration and limitations.
Courts must consider “child support guidelines” when awarding child support. These guidelines, called the “Child Support Standards Act” (“CSSA”), provide for a pro-rata child support award based upon a percentage of combined gross income of both parents; the child support must be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. The guidelines automatically apply to the first $148,000.00 of combined parental income and presumptively apply to combined income over $148,000. If the court finds the formula “unjust or inappropriate,” it need not apply the guidelines.
In New York, parents are obligated to support their child until the child is 21 years old or sooner emancipated. The obligation to support a dependent child until he or she is 21 applies, even though a “child” is legally an adult at 18.
The percentage rates under CSSA are as follows:
In addition, amounts to be paid for childcare, medical, and educational expenses are treated separately, and are added to the basic child support obligation.
The parties can opt-out of the CSSA by entering into a separate agreement, provided the parties are advised of the provisions of the CSSA and the agreement explains why the parents have agreed to deviate from the guidelines.
If your children are on public assistance, you should file a downward modification petition in Family Court. You can do this by mail or by having a friend or family member file a petition for you. The Department of Social Services has recently changed its policy and will now consent to suspension of support orders when the payor is incarcerated. If your children are not on public assistance, the law may allow for a downward modification or suspension.
Family Court and Supreme Court matrimonial files are confidential. Only parties, their attorneys, or someone with a written authorization signed by a party may have access to them.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 25 September 2019
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