NY Divorce at a Glance. Part 4 of 8: Child Support
A summary of how child support is calculated in New York
IntroductionThe Child Support Standards Act, (CSSA) was enacted in 1989. It requires that child support be determined by a mathematical formula. This formula is presumed to be the correct amount. Application of the CSSA guidelines is mandatory, and while support can deviate from the CSSA formula, any such deviation must follow specific steps for it to be valid.
The CSSA sets an income cap. Initially it was $80,000 per year. It was raised by statute and is now adjusted for inflation. The current income cap as of the date of this guide is $148,000.
Step 1: Determine both parent's incomesThe first step in calculating child support is to determine both parent's adjusted gross income.
Gross income must include the following:
Gross income as should have been reported in the most recent federal income tax return.
Unemployment insurance benefits
Social security benefits
Pensions and retirement benefits
Fellowships and stipends
The Court may add in the following as additional income:
Non-income producing assets
Money, goods, or services provided by relatives and friends.
From the Gross Income, subtract the following:
Certain unreimbursed employee business expenses
Maintenance paid if there is a court order or matrimonial agreement
Child support paid under a court order or written agreement
Supplemental security income
New York City or Yonkers income or earnings taxes actually paid
Federal insurance contributions act (FICA) taxes.
Step 2: Combine the Incomes and Apply the CSSA percentagesAfter both parents adjusted gross incomes are determined, combine them into one figure. The child support for combined income up to the existing cap must be determined, and if the combined income exceeds the current cap, a second calculation must be made for income over the cap.
The statutory percentages are applied to the combined income, based on the number of children.
One child: 17%
Two children: 25%
Three children: 29%
Four children: 31%
Five children: no less than 35%
Pro Rate Each Parent's Share of the Child SupportThe child support amount calculated above is then allocated to each parent, based on a pro rata share of their income towards the combined parental income. This calculation must be done for the combined income up to the cap, and for income which exceeds the cap up to an amount determined by the parties on consent or by the court.
This ratio is also ratio of add-ons to the basic support consisting of:
Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
Additional resources provided by the author
- Official NYS CSSA Standards Chart for Child Support
- Full Article
- Part 1 - New York Divorce Procedure at a Glance
- Part 2 - Custody at a Glance
- Part 3 - Spousal Maintenance at a Glance
- Part 5 - Equitable Distribution at a Glance
- Part 6 - Exclusive Occupancy of the Marital Home
- Part 7 - Counsel Fee Awards
- Part 8 - Grounds for Divorce