Under New York State law, children must be financially supported until they are 21 years old. Regardless of whether or not an individual knows a child personally or lives with them, a parent is required to pay child support under the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) in New York.
The CSSA mandates support payments for a child’s financial well-being. The CSSA was enacted to keep a consistent standard of living and continuity in a child’s life, regardless of whether the parents are separated. Additionally, even if a parent is in another state or country, unemployed, or in jail they may still be ordered by a court to pay child support.
Child support may involve cash or check payments for expenses such as childcare, medical care, or food. The exact amount of child support that must be paid by an individual is computed by a family court. Ordinarily, child support is a set percentage. However, the court has discretion with certain percentages if the parental earnings are over $143,000. Currently the support scale is as follows:
1 Child: 17% of parental income
2 Children: 25% of parental income
3 Children: 29% of parental income
4 Children: 31% of parental income
5 or More Children: No less than 35% of parental income
If an individual has an income that is below the Federal Poverty Line, the child support payments are generally capped at $25 per month. In 2016, the Federal Poverty Line was at $11,880. If an individual has an income that falls under New York’s Self-Support Reserve, he or she will usually pay $50 per month. In 2016, the New York Self-Support Reserve was $16,038.
While a divorce is proceeding, the noncustodial parent is generally responsible for paying child support in order to maintain a child’s financial well-being. A noncustodial parent is a parent that does not reside with the child. The details of the child support arrangement are decided in a hearing before a family court judge. Prior to a final determination of child custody at trial, a judge can put temporary orders of child custody in place leading up to the trial, at which time a permanent decision will be made. In general, the parent who makes more money in a joint custody case will likely have to pay support. If there is a question over who the legal guardian of a child is, a paternity DNA test may be conducted with the filing of proper documentation.
The lawyers at Larry McCord & Associates, LLC have experience representing spouses in all aspects of matrimonial and family law litigation. The financial complexities in divorce cases can be overwhelming. Please contact Larry McCord and Associates, LLC at (631) 643-3084 to learn more about the firm’s services and approach to child support disputes.