Child Support Law

Experienced Child Support Attorney

Child Support is a sum of money paid by the non custodial parent to the parent enjoying residential custody of the parties’ children. In New York State including Suffolk County Child Support and Nassau County Child Support, the Child Support Standards Act (“CSSA”) governs the calculation of child support. The “basic” child support obligation is calculated by a formula – namely by multiplying the “combined parental income” by the appropriate child support percentage. Income is defined by the CSSA as “gross income as it was or should have been reported on the most recent tax return, less deductions for social security and medicare taxes, as well as New York City and Yonkers income taxes, if applicable. Significantly, the CSSA definition of income is much broader than the IRS definition of income, and courts will also “impute” income to a non custodial parent if it determines that the parent is underemployed, or even unemployed.

The “child support percentage” is 17% of combined parental income for one child; 25% for two children; 29% for three children; 31% for four children; and at least 35% for five or more children. Though “combined parental income” is “capped” at $130,000.00 under the CSSA, courts in the metropolitan area routinely apply the percentages to approximately $250,000.00 of the non custodial parent’s income. Contrary to popular belief, courts are free to determine an amount of child support that is different than the CSSA “presumptively correct” amount of child support if that amount is “unjust or inappropriate.”

Child support ceases when a child reaches the age of 21, or is sooner emancipated, though many settlement agreements provide for the non custodial parent to pay child support until the age of 22 if the child is enrolled as a full time student in college. The custodial parent is not required to account for the child support monies that he or she receives to the non custodial parent.

In addition to the “basic” child support obligation, the Child Support Standards Act provides that parents share (in proportion to their respective incomes) the cost of reasonable child care expenses necessary for the custodial parent to work, or receive training and/or education necessary to obtain employment, as well as unreimbursed medical expenses of the children. Parents may also be directed to contribute towards the cost of health insurance and the college educational costs of their children, usually in proportion to their incomes, until the child is emancipated.

Michael A. Cohen has been helping families in all areas of family and matrimonial law for more than 17 years and provides aggressive representation to both custodial and non-custodial parents in child support matters. Michael A. Cohen can help with issues concerning visitation, custody, divorce, and how all of these affect each other. Please call for a consultation. 516-280-6806