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How child support is calculated in New York City

While ideally both parents would arrive at an agreement about child support and not need external parties to make the determination, unfortunately, that doesn't happen terribly often. It's in situations like those that there is a specific mathematical formula used by the City of New York to determine child support required in a particular case.

In calculating the child support that is owed by one parent to the other, the pay that both parents bring in are combined and certain deductions are made. This result is then multiplied by a pre-designed percentage dependent upon the amount of kids the non-custodial parent is responsible for supporting. What results is a prorated amount of child support that is awarded respective to each parent's incomes.

When it comes to the percentages that serve as the multipliers for the prorated support obligations, they begin at 17 percent for a parent of one child and can reach as high as 35 percent for parents of five children or more. Parents of two, three and four children are imposed a 25, 29, and 31 percent rate respectively.

As for the types of parental wages that are considered income for the purpose of child support garnishment or awards, they include not just bona fide employment, but also unemployment, disability, workers' compensation, social security, pensions, and other types of awards. Among the deductions referenced above, those include such withholdings as social security, Medicare or welfare payments.

This base amount of child support is intended to cover basic expenses for a child including food, shelter and clothing. Medical expenses not covered by insurance, extracurricular expenses, or childcare are all considered add-on expenses a judge may impose on the non-custodial parent independent of the basic support obligation.

While certain bare minimum standards exist which all non-custodial parents are held to in determining how much child support they owe, some instances exist in which support obligations may be seen as overly financially debilitating or otherwise unfair. Well represented clients can expect their New York family law attorneys to effectively communicate this to a judge and ultimately have their support obligation reduced.

Source: nycbar.org, "Child support," accessed May 02, 2017

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