1. What Is Child Support
Child support is financial support provided by the noncustodial parent.
It includes cash payments based on the parent's income and the needs
of the child, health insurance, payments for child care, and payments
for reasonable health care costs not covered by health insurance. It can
also include extra-curricular activities.
Under New York law, parents are responsible for supporting their children
until the child is 21 years old. The state has a child support program
that can collect and distribute child support payments and enforce orders
when payments are not made. A parent, guardian, caretaker of a child,
or child who needs support can apply for these services.
2. Child Support Guidelines
The court uses a guideline to calculate what the noncustodial parent will
pay, based on the noncustodial parent's adjusted gross income and
on the number of children involved, after making deductions such as Medicare,
social security, and New York City tax.
Then the adjusted gross income is multiplied by the standard guideline
percentage for the number of children as follows:
17% for one child;
25% for two children;
29% for three children;
31% for four children; and
at least 35% for five or more children.
Then the noncustodial parent's share of these expenses is added to
the income percentage amount and the combined amount plus expenses is
the basic child support amount. This formula is applied to the first $
154,000 of joint parental income. For combined parental income over this
amount, the court may consider either the standard guideline amount and/or
other factors in determining the child support obligation.
3. Who Pays Child Support
All parents have a legal responsibility to support their dependent children
to the extent that they can. A parent with custody usually has most of
the day-to-day expenses of child-raising, and may be entitled to receive
child support from the other parent. This entitlement to child support
may continue even if the custodial parent remarries or starts to live
with someone else.
4. When Does Child Support End
Dependent children are entitled to child support.
A dependent child is any child under the age of 21 in New York, unless:
• the child has married, or
• the child is 16 years of age or over and has voluntarily withdrawn
from parental control Child support might also continue after a child
turns 18 years of age if the child is unable to be self-supporting because
he or she:
• has a disability or illness, or
• is still going to school full-time.
5. When to Apply for Child Support
If children are living with a parent after their parents have separated,
the parent can apply for child support. This usually happens after a separation
that leads to divorce. I often suggest filing for child support and custody
at the same time. It is important to address these issues as soon as possible.
A parent can apply for custody and support even while living separately
under the same roof after their relationship with the other parent is
over. But usually, the court will not make an order for custody and support
until one parent has actually moved out.
As a divorce attorney/mediator for over 35 years, I have helped thousands
of families get the financial support they need. I can do this for you too!
If you have questions about child support or need help obtaining child
support, please call me. I will discuss how the child support guidelines
apply to you.
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