How is child support calculated?
When parents live separately and one parent has custody of the child, that parent, called the “custodial parent,” may file a petition in Family Court asking the court to enter an order for the “non-custodial parent” to pay child support. A child who is not emancipated and is living away from both parents may also file a petition against his or her parents asking for an order of support to be paid to the child.
Every parent has the duty to provide his or her children with the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing and shelter. This duty usually terminates when the child in emancipated, when the child graduates from high school, when the child enters the military, or when the child marries, but the support obligation can extend beyond that point if the child is unable to support him or herself. In New York State, a child is entitled to be supported by his or her parents until the age of 21. However, if the child is under 21 years of age, and is married, or self-supporting, or in the military, the child is considered to be “emancipated” and the parents’ support obligation ends.
New York State has developed guidelines that help establish the amount of child support that must be paid. The guidelines are based on the parents’ incomes, expenses and the needs of the children. The guidelines calculate the child support amount as a percentage of the paying parent’s income that increases as the number of children being supported rises. However, judges may deviate from the guidelines when, for example, one party or a child has higher than average expenses. If the court determines that the paying parent is voluntarily earning less than he or she could, the judge can calculate the amount of child support based on what the payer is capable of earning.
The general factors considered by the court in issuing child support orders, include:
• The child’s standard of living before the parents’ separation or divorce;
• The paying parent’s ability to pay;
• The custodial parent’s needs and income;
• The needs of the child or children, including educational costs, daycare expenses and medical
expenses (health insurance or special health care needs).
Child support is a complicated issue. It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney in your state. If you live in NY State and have additional questions about your support case, please CONTACT OUR OFFICE via our website, or give us a call at 315-701-2939. Weisberg & Zukher has been serving clients in Family Law related matters for almost 40 years. We always welcome your call. Please see related articles:
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