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When can one deviate from the child support guidelines?

Parents in New York have to provide for their children's needs. They may budget and have a decent idea of how much money they spend on their children, but it is not always a specific amount that they spend each month. This works when the parents are together, but it doesn't always work as well when the parents are divorced. It is important that both parents contribute to the needs of the child and that is why there are child support orders.

Basic child support depends on two main things: the parents' gross income and the number of children that they have together. The custodial parent generally pays a percentage of their income based on the number of children they have.

However, the courts can deviate from the guideline child support obligation if the guideline amount is unjust or inappropriate. The deviations could be either upward or downward deviations.

When making this determination, a judge must analyze a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to: the financial resources of both parents, any special needs of the children, the standard of living the children enjoyed during the marriage, the educational needs of the parents, any non-monetary contributions the non-custodial parent makes towards the care of the children, extraordinary expenses that the non-custodial parent must incur in order to exercise their parenting time and others.

There are many parents who pay child support in New York. Most of the time the amount of the child support is based on the guidelines. That means that the non-custodial parent will pay a percentage of the parents' combine gross income. However, this amount can be either inappropriately low or inappropriately high given the circumstances. In these situations the parents may be able to deviate from the guideline amount.

Source:, "New York Consolidated Laws, Family Court Act - FCT § 413. Parent's duty to support child" accessed on Nov. 6, 2017

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