New York Child Support

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'Child Support' is the money paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to support their child. In New York, the CSSA (the Child Support Standard Act) governs this issue. The guidelines are mentioned in the Domestic Relations Law 240 Section 1-b and Family Court Act 413. According to these guidelines the support amount is computed by considering both parents' combined gross income and the number of children. The amount of child support in New York divorce is continued until the child turns 21 or becomes emancipated after the age of 16 by living apart from the parents, by joining the military service, by marriage or if he is financially self-supporting.

The rules and laws for child maintenance are different in different states of the nation. In New York, the support amount is inclusive of the following:

  • Payments in cash: This is decided on the basis of the requirements of the child and the income of the parent.
  • Medical support in the form of health insurance for the child
  • Child care payments
  • Money for reasonable health care expenses that are not taken into account by health insurance
  • In many cases educational and extracurricular expenses may be included.

Enforcement of Child Support in New York Divorce

In order to collect overdue support, the following procedures are employed:

  • Information regarding delinquent non-custodial parents (NCP) is forwarded to the DTF (Department of Taxation and Finance) of this state. This department applies certain tax collection remedies.
  • Liens are filed on the real estate or awards or personal injury claims of the delinquent NCP.
  • The US state department and New York state division of Child Support Enforcement collaborate to avoid procurement or renew of a passport by the NCP.
  • Financial assets can be seized for satisfaction of overdue child maintenance. Such assets are inclusive of bank accounts.
  • Interception of New York State lottery winnings
  • Information of the delinquent NCP is passed on to the major consumer credit reporting agencies. As a consequence of this step, the NCP faces hurdles to obtain a loan or any other credit till the support payments are done.
  • Interception of state and/or federal income tax refund
  • Imprisonment

For collection of current or overdue child support, the methods mentioned below are employed:

  • Let us assume that the NCP is getting UIB (Unemployment Insurance Benefits) from the Department of Labor in this state. In such cases, the child support payment is automatically subtracted from this amount.
  • The support payment is subtracted from the wages or other income procured from the employer or income payer of the NCP.

Calculation of Child Support in New York Divorce

  • The first step is that the court finds out the gross income of the parent
  • The court makes certain deductions from this amount. These are Social Security income, Medicare, public assistance, unreimbursed employee business expenses, FICA taxes and New York City or Yonkers tax. The deductions may also include support amount paid to any other child who is not subject to this action, support to a spouse who is not a party to the present action but only if there is a written agreement or court order. The balance so obtained is termed as 'adjusted gross income'.
  • This 'adjusted gross income' is multiplied by the following percentages to obtain the child support amount:
    • If there are 5 or more children, then minimum 35 percent
    • If there are 4 children, then 31 percent
    • In case of 3 children, 29 percent
    • For 2 children, 25 percent
    • If the couple have only 1 child, then 17 percent

As specified by the guidelines, if the combined gross income of the parents is $136,000 or less per year (as of January 1, 2012 mentioned in the revised guidelines), the court follows the formula that is mentioned above. If the combined gross income of the parents is more than $136,000 every year, the court can use the same formula as mentioned above; or it will use the same formula for the first $136,000 of combined income and for the remainder income, it will take into consideration some significant factors like:

  • The standard of living the child would have experienced if the divorce would not have happened
  • The emotional and physical health of the child
  • Any special needs of the child
  • The financial resources available to the child and both the parents
  • The tax consequences to each parent
  • Whether the gross income of one parent is substantially lesser than the other parent's gross income
  • The non-monetary contributions that each parent will be making for the overall development of the child
  • The requirements of any other child for whom the non-custodial parent is providing support, only if that child is not subject to the present action and the support amount is not deducted from the non-custodial parent's income.

Details regarding Court Hearing in New York Child Support

  • Each parent should carry with him/her their paycheck stubs, W-2s, latest tax returns and any other documents pertinent to the present income. A custodial parent also need to bring a copy of the child's birth certificate, proof of cost of certain expenses like food, clothing, child care etc., a marriage license and divorce decree, if applicable.
  • The hearing examiner or judge uses the above documents of both parents along with any other data presented by these parents to determine the exact support amount.
  • Let us consider that the husband has remained absent for the hearing. Then, the court announces that this person is the father of the child. Moreover, it issues orders that this father must disburse the support amount.
  • There are four types of petition - paternity petition, violation petition, modification petition, and support petition.

Knowing the details of child support in New York divorce will help the parents prepare for the court hearing in a better way. It is advisable to make the best use of the information given here for you and your children's benefit.

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