Child Support Determinations in New York State

Factors affecting Family Court & Supreme Court Child Support Calculations

Under the New York State Child Support Standards Act (1989), both parents are responsible for contributing financially to the needs of their children.  Under federal law, the parent with primary custody has the right to receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent--even if he or she has only 51% custody and sometimes even when custodial time is divided equally between parents. Furthermore, in joint custody cases, a parent who lacks the ability to provide for the child financially may still be entitled to child support from the other parent.   


A parent's basic NY child support obligation is determined by the family court judge according to the following formula:

  • Each parent's net income is calculated (their gross income less Social Security and local tax only; federal and state taxes may not be deducted).
  • Taxes, alimony payments to a previous spouse, and previously determined child support payments are deducted from that parent's income.
  • The net incomes of the two parents are combined up to$148,000. If the combined income exceeds $148,000, the court has the discretion to consider or not consider it.
  • The combined income is multiplied by 17 percent for one child, 25 percent for two children, 29 percent for three children, 31 percent for four children, and 35 percent for five or more children.
  • The final amount of child support is then prorated between the parents, based on their income. The noncustodial parent must pay his or her portion of child support to the custodial parent, while the custodial parent is presumed to be paying his or her share of child support while caring for the child. The noncustodial parent's obligation is not prorated depending on the amount of time he or she cares for the child.  


Parents may agree to opt out of the basic child support formula applied by the family court only by signing a legal agreement which includes a provision stating that they have been fully advised of the New York State Child Support Standards Act. If the parents have not previously opted out, they may seek a modification of their child support family court order after 3 years, when there is a 15% change in the gross income of either party since the most recent child support order, or if either party experiences a significant change in circumstances.  


Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, contact the Columbia County based law offices of attorney Heidi T. Cochrane for compassionate and zealous legal representation for your New York child custody, visitation, or child support matter. 

NYS basic child support obligations may be calculated based on statutory percentages.

NYS basic child support obligations may be calculated based on statutory percentages.

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