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Child Support 101

What is child support?

 New York law says that children are entitled to share in the income and standard of living of both parents. Child support is the money that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent if the child is under 21. Child support is based on a strict formula. See the Child Support Standards Chart.

Child support may be awarded by the Supreme Court as part of a divorce, or in Family Court as part of a child support proceeding.

How does a court calculate child support?   

First, the court determines each parent’s net income. Net income is gross income minus certain deductions, such as FICA, NYC income tax, Yonkers income tax, spousal support and child support paid for other child(ren). Second, the court adds the parents’ net income together and multiplies that number by a percentage, depending on how many children they have:

  • 17% for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • no less than 35% for five or more children

That amount is then divided based on the proportion of each parent’s net income to the combined parental net income.

In addition to the basic child support obligation, a spouse may also be required to pay for child care expenses, educational expenses, and medical expenses.

How to Calculate Child Support