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Child support and income determination

When New York couples have parted ways as a couple and share a child or children, a frequent concern is how child support will be calculated. There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration with percentages based on how many children there are and what amount of income will be earmarked for the child. Understanding the child support guidelines is a key to both adhering to the financial needs of the child and handling a child support dispute.

First, the parents' income will be combined. There can be deductions under the law. The amounts will be added together to get the combined parental income. The parental income is multiplied by the percentage and the amount will be split by the parents based on their earnings. If there is one child, the percentage is 17 percent. With two children, it is 25 percent. It rises with additional children. It is also important how much each parent contributes to the total amount. If, for example, the noncustodial parent's income accounts for 60 percent of the total, then that number will be calculated as part of the combined child support obligation.

The income of the parents is determined based on all income and is not limited to that which is reported for tax purposes such as wages, investment income, deferred income, cash benefits, retirement benefits, stipends and annuities. The judge or support magistrate will be able to add money and other benefits provided by relatives and friends, and fringe benefits from work when calculating. The judge or support magistrate will also be able to determine income - also referred to as imputing income - based on past income and resources or the amount that parent has the ability to earn even if that is not being current earned.

It is possible to have deductions including FICA taxes, income or earnings taxes in New York and Yonkers, child support for a different child and maintenance for a former spouse, maintenance to the other parent provided there will be an increase in child support once that ends, and employee expenses that have not been reimbursed.

Since the child support guidelines based on the Child Support Standards Act can be complex and confusing, particularly when calculating the total income of both parents and the percentages that decide the amounts that will be paid, it is important to have experienced legal help. Discussing a case with an attorney who is experienced in matters related to child support can help to handle the situation and any issue that might arise.

Source: nycourts.gov, "NYSBA Child Support," accessed on April 2, 2017

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