Understanding Child Support

Under the Family Court Act which is Article 4, “the parents of a child under the age of 21 are chargeable with the support of such child and if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, the parents shall be required to pay for child support which is a fair and reasonable sum the support magistrate shall determine.” If a parent quits a job to avoid paying child support that parent can still be charged with what % he or she could earn (imputed).

The child support percentage to be paid is 17% of the combined parental income for one child, 25% of the combined parental income for two children, 39% of the combined parental income for three children, 31% of the combined parental income for four children and no less than 35% of the combined income for 5 or more children.

What is income? Combined parental income is the sum of the income of both parents. Income is gross total income for the individual parent from the Federal Return. Then you must add investment income reduced by the cost associated with making this income. Next comes income from worker’s compensation, disability benefits, unemployment, social security benefits, veterans benefits, pensions and retirement benefits, fellowships and stipends and annuity payments.

At the discretion of the court, the court may attribute or impute income from these other sources:

  1. Non­income producing assets
  2. Meals, lodging or other perquisites from employment in a business which are for personal use
  3. Fringe benefits
  4. Money, goods or services provided by a relative

For the self-employed parent these items can be brought back into your income including:

  1. Depreciation than the calculated straight line depreciation
  2. Entertainment and travel allowances deducted from business income to the extent they reduce personal expenses

What can be subtracted from Parental Income?

  1. Unreimbursed employee business expenses (uniforms)
  2. Alimony or Maintenance actually paid to a spouse not a party to the instant case pursuant to a court order or a validly executed written agreement
  3. Alimony or maintenance actually paid to a spouse that is a party to the instant action pursual to a court order or a validly written agreement provided the agreement provides for a specific adjustment upon termination of alimony or support
  4. Child support actually paid pursuant to another court order
  5. Public Assistance
  6. SSI
  7. New York City Taxes actually paid
  8. FICA taxes actually paid

In addition, where health insurance is available, the cost of the custodial parents pro rata share can be deducted from the basic support obligation. Where the basic amount of the child support obligation would reduce the non­custodial’s parent’s income below the poverty income guidelines the basic support obligation would be $25.

The court can though find that non­custodial parents share is unjust or inappropriate based on the financial resources of either parent or the child; the physical and emotional health of the child and his/her special needs and aptitudes; the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or household not have been dissolved; the tax consequences to the parties; the non-monetary contributions that the parents will make towards the care and well being of the child; the educational needs of the parent; and the determination that the gross income of one parent is substantially less than the other parent’s gross income.

Also, always write a check for the support you pay and never pay support in cash. Still have questions? Please just give me a call.