New York Child Support Formula, with Examples (NY)

Child support ensures both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute financially to their children's care.

Parents can ask for support when they open a case in family court or supreme court. Alternatively, they can include the details of support in a settlement agreement they draft together.

Large costs ― medical bills, school tuition, daycare fees, etc. ― are not covered by child support and are usually split by parents evenly, if the parents have similar incomes. Otherwise, each contributes an amount proportional to their income.

Parents typically split large costs not covered by child support. Track these expenses with Custody X Change.

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Factors in the New York child support formula

New York's child support formula considers the following factors. Judges can (but don't often) stray from the formula if a case has unique child support needs.

Number of eligible children

Qualifying children must be under 21, unmarried and non-emancipated. The number of qualifying children from the relationship determines how much of the parents' combined income the state considers the family's "basic support obligation."

  • 1 child: 17% of combined income
  • 2 children: 25% of combined income
  • 3 children: 29% of combined income
  • 4 children: 31% of combined income
  • 5 or more children: at least 35% of combined income
Combined parental income

Income includes wages or salary, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation and Social Security, among other earnings.

The court deducts FICA tax payments, the children's health insurance payments, and child support paid for other children. Then it adds together both parents' resulting numbers to reach their combined parental income.

Parent's percentage of combined parental income

The non-custodial parent's support obligation is proportionate to their percentage of the combined parental income.

For example, if the mother's income makes up 70 percent of the combined parental income, she's expected to pay 70 percent of the basic support obligation set by the state.

Special circumstances

If paying the calculated amount would leave the non-custodial parent below the poverty level or unable to care for other children, the judge will make adjustments.

When the combined parental income exceeds $148,000, the court does not have to apply the child support formula to the entire amount. In these cases, the court usually follows the formula for the first $148,000 of income, then adds additional support based on the custodial parent's ability to provide for the children.

Child support calculation examples

Use the following examples to better understand the New York child support formula, bearing in mind that judges have the discretion to stray from the formula as necessary.

Example 1

Steve and Beth have two children.

Beth is the custodial parent, with an annual income of $22,500 after deductions.

Steve is the non-custodial parent, with an annual income of $40,000 after deductions.

Their combined annual income is $62,500.

Per the state guidelines for two children (detailed above), their combined annual income is multiplied by .25 (25%). Steve and Beth's combined child support obligation is $15,625 annually.

Steve's income is 64 percent of the combined parental income.

The amount he is expected to pay as the non-custodial parent is calculated by multiplying the combined child support obligation of $15,625 by .64 (64%).

Steve must pay Beth $10,000 annually or $833 per month in child support.

Example 2

Paula and John have four children.

John, the custodial parent, and Paula, the non-custodial parent, have identical annual incomes of $67,500.

Their combined annual income is $135,000.

Per the state guidelines for four children (detailed above), John and Paula multiply their combined income by .31 (31%). The result shows their basic child support obligation is $41,850 annually.

Paula's income is 50 percent of the combined parental income.

The amount she is expected to pay as the non-custodial parent is calculated by multiplying the combined child support obligation of $41,850 by .50 (50%).

Paula must pay John $20,925 annually or $1,743.75 per month in child support.

Physical custody and child support

New York applies the same formula regardless of whether you have sole physical custody or joint physical custody. Parenting time doesn't change the amount you must pay.

However, in very special circumstances, you may be able to convince a judge to deviate from support guidelines if you can show your possession time far exceeds what is considered standard for a non-custodial parent. To see if this applies to you, calculate your exact possession time with Custody X Change.

Courts handle child support separately from custody and visitation. You cannot refuse to let the other parent see your children as a consequence for not paying child support, and you cannot refuse to pay child support if the other parent won't let you see your children.

Modifications

Major changes, such as a job loss, can result in modifications to support orders. Modifications are generally handled by family court, because supreme court only deals with child support during active divorce or separation cases.

If you don't have a lawyer, you can petition family court to modify or enforce a support order online. (Neglecting to pay support can result in jail time). Otherwise, your lawyer will petition for you.

Either party can file an objection if they disagree with a support order. It must be filed with the court clerk within 30 days of receiving the order in court, or 35 days after the order is mailed.

New York law requires an automatic review of support orders every two years to account for changes in the cost of living.

Keep track of payments and expenses

Whether you're a custodial or non-custodial parent, the Custody X Change app can help you keep track of support payments and child-related expenses.

Log details of every payment or expense into your parenting expense tracker to ensure your payments are on time and the court order is being followed to the letter.

Parents typically split large costs not covered by child support. Track these expenses with Custody X Change.

Track My Expenses Now

Parents typically split large costs not covered by child support. Track these expenses with Custody X Change.

Track My Expenses