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5 Things You Need Know About Child Support!


As a divorce attorney/mediator for over 35 years, I have guided many spouses through the maze of child support.

Making sure a child is supported financially is an important component of the divorce process.

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 reasonable health care costs not covered by health insurance.

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 which 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 parents’ joint adjusted gross income and on the number of children involved, after making deductions such as Medicare, Social Security, and New York City tax. The adjusted gross income is then 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 childcare and extracurricular expenses is added to the total.

This formula is applied to the first $154,000.00. 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 continues 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child under the age of 21, unless the child has married, or the child is 16 years of age or over and has voluntarily withdrawn from parental control.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 21 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 any order for custody and support until one parent has actually moved out.

If you have questions about child support, call me. I will be happy to discuss the child support guidelines with you.

As a medically-trained divorce attorney and mediator, I have been skillfully helping divorcing couples and their families for over 35 years.

My unique combination of legal and psychological training is very effective when it comes to helping families successfully navigate the divorce process.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all our FREE CONSULTATIONS are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to speaking with you!

Continue to stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner is available to help you with all your child support needs!

Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.

Call 212.734.1551