In the 1980s, most states began implementing child support guidelines after federal laws were passed to mandate such guidelines. The result was that child support payments rose by around 50 percent, according to the American Bar Association, which was the desired outcome. One study showed that the average weekly payment went from $40 to $60, which is an improvement but even adjusted for minor inflation, that does not come to a lot. Child support is calculated based on the child’s needs and the non-custodial parent’s income. Whether you are a custodial parent or a non-custodial parent, you need an attorney to ensure that the child support payments mandated by the court are fair to all parties involved.


Calculating New York Child Support

Child support is due until the child reaches the age of 21, unless the child is self-supporting, joins the military, marries, or is emancipated before the age of 16. The support order is based on the two parents’ combined income and the number of children the non-custodial parent is responsible for. The court will multiply the child support percentage and the combined income and label that as the child support obligation amount.

  • Child support percentage for one child is 17 percent of the combined income;
  • Child support percentage for two children is 25 percent of the combined income; and
  • Child support percentage for three children is 29 percent of the combined income.

Next, the court will divide that number by the percentage of each parent’s respective income. For example, the custodial parent’s income is $42,000 and the non-custodial parent’s income is $20,000. The combined sum is $62,000. This sum, $62,000, multiplied by 0.25 (or 25 percent), yields $15,500. Because the custodial parent’s income accounts for 68 percent of the combined income (42,000 divided by 62,000), the non-custodial parent would be responsible for paying the remaining 32 percent of the total $15,500 child support obligation, which comes to $4,960 per year, made in monthly payments. Additionally, the court will assess the financial needs of the child and the cost of child raising, including such factors as healthcare and childcare costs. For combined incomes greater than $136,000, the court will use other various methods for determining what the non-custodial parent owes.

Low-Income Parents are Protected

If you are worried that child support payments could put you into the red, you need to work with an attorney to ensure that the court order is not too large for you to pay. You may be able to have the support order adjusted down the road, but you will be held accountable for payments up until then, including missed payments. However, if your income is below the federal poverty level of $12,060 (for 2017), the support order may only be set at $25 per month, with arrears being limited to $500, according to the NYC Human Resources Administration.

Contact a Columbia County Child Support Attorney

The Colwell Law Group offers professional legal services to parents who are going to become the custodial party as well as to the non-custodial parent who will be held accountable for child support payments. Contact us today for experienced legal representation.

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