Child Support Guidelines in New York

December 9th, 2021

Are you confused by child support in New York? There are many factors to consider when calculating child support, and it can make your head spin if you aren’t sure of the potential outcomes. Let the Law Office of Jodi Ann Donato walk you through New York Child Support Guidelines to help simplify the process. 

We’ll review here the basics of child support that are helpful to anyone facing an issue regarding child support, such as determining the appropriate amount, specifically on how to calculate child support. Let our reliable family law attorney help you with your concerns pertaining to your child support case. 


Child Support Basics


Child support is money provided by a parent to meet the financial requirements of their child. Child support pays for various expenditures, including regular living expenses, child care expenses, health care, and other costs for the child’s welfare. If the cost of health insurance coverage is affordable, the parent may be required to pay for it.


Who Files for Child Support?

Child Support Guidelines New York

When parents live apart and have custody of the child, the “custodial parent” may petition Family Court for an order requiring the “non-custodial parent” to pay child support.

A child who is not emancipated and lives away from both parents may petition their parents for a maintenance order.

When a child is receiving public assistance or receiving foster care services, the Department of Social Services may appeal to request the court to impose child support on the non-custodial parent or parents.

The “petitioner” files the petition, and the “respondent” responds. The petition must be served to the respondent, along with a summons announcing the court hearing date.

The family court has no filing costs. Seek legal help from a Suffolk County attorney who is knowledgeable about child support laws. 


Who is financially responsible for their children?

Child support may be obtained from the other parent by the parent or person who resides with the child more than half of the time.

Even if a child lives equally with both parents, a child support order may still exist. It would cover health care and child care costs and assist low-income parents.

Even if the non-custodial parent is a teenager, he or she must pay child support.


The simple math of child support (Child Support Calculation) 

In New York, child support is computed using a formula. In general, parents are financially liable for their children depending on their income. Pensions, fellowships, annuity payments, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment, Social Security, and retirement benefits may all be included in a parent’s income, as well as income from other sources.

Certain things, such as taxes, other child support, business expenditures, alimony obligations, or public assistance, may be deducted from income. Depending on your circumstances, more things may be deducted from your income.

After calculating income, the figure is multiplied by a percentage. The proportion varies according to the number of children a parent must support. Naturally, one must remember that assistance may be ordered in an amount larger or less than the suggested amount.

The following percentages are used in calculating child support:

  • 17% for a single child
  • 25% for two children
  • 30% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • 35% for families with five or more youngsters

The proportion of total combined income contributed by the noncustodial parent equals the amount of New York child support payments they are accountable for. For instance, if the noncustodial parent provides 40% of the total combined income each year, they are accountable for 40% of child support expenditures. 

The physical custody parent is believed to be already paying their basic support obligation by caring for the child while at their home. Modification of child support may also be possible if there is a change in circumstance such as an increase in medical expenses of the child or if the parent suddenly becomes unemployed and therefore could not fulfill child support obligation as mandated by the family court


Do I owe child support if my partner and I are not married?

If you are a father who was never married to your child’s mother, this causes difficulties, much more so if your son or daughter’s mother is no longer in an intimate connection with you.

While New York law presumes that a woman’s spouse is the father of her child, paternity must be verified legally when the parents are not married. A supposed father owes his child no rights or obligations until this occurs. 

This means he cannot petition the court for custody or visitation or parenting time, and he cannot be forced to pay child support by the court.


Are you the legal father of your child?

Perhaps you are certain that you are the biological father of your child; after all, your child’s mother acknowledges it freely. Unless you are officially married to the mother of your child, you are not considered the legal father.

Unless and until you perform the necessary measures, your name will not appear on your child’s birth certificate.


Establishing Paternity

In New York, there are two methods to prove paternity:

1. You and the mother of your child sign a document known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.

Typically, parents sign this document in the hospital immediately after birth. However, it may also be completed at a family court, birth registry, or child support agency office.


2. You bring a legal action to determine paternity.

If you go this path, you retain the services of an attorney and appear in court. You will provide a DNA sample, which will be compared to the child’s DNA.

Generally, assumed dads pick the second choice when they are uncertain about their paternity or believe the child is not theirs. If you are uncertain about the child’s paternity, you should not sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity.


DNA tests are quite accurate, and if there is any doubt about paternity, these tests will determine if you are the child’s biological father.

If the tests reveal that you are the father, the court will enter an order of filiation declaring that you are the child’s father. Next, the court will determine the amount of child support you must begin paying.


Can a parent be forced to support an adult disabled child?

Most courts now hold that a parent must assist an adult child who is unable (not unwilling) in doing so. This is sometimes based on a court’s interpretation of legislation.

Sometimes there is no legislation, and the court relies on earlier court rulings. Without statutory or case law support, a court may decide based on its understanding of previous common law about parental obligations.

A few courts throughout the country have ruled that a parent has no responsibility to assist an adult child who is disabled. Most courts take this minority stance because they are bound by statutes that declare a parent has no such obligation or by precedents that preclude them from deciding otherwise. A court may decline to grant child support for an adult child if the state does not require particular legislation.


When does child support stop?

Child support automatically terminates when the child reaches the age of 21.

A judge may terminate child support before the child reaches the age of 21 if the youngster attains independence or is emancipated.


Takeaway: Family Law Attorney in Suffolk County has a lot of great advice!


When it comes to paying child support, New York’s laws are designed to protect the children’s best interests. There is no argument that child support payments serve a vital purpose in providing for the needs of children and other dependent family members.

If you face a potential recommendation for child support, you should immediately seek counsel from a lawyer specializing in family law to protect your rights.

If you face a new family court case, speak with one of our respected Suffolk County child support attorneys today. We understand how difficult this is for you and your family, so do not hesitate to reach out to us so we can help. 

Ask a New York Attorney at 631-920-3848. We look forward to answering any questions you have.

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