Under New York law, child support is comprised of 2 components: basic support and pro rata add-ons. The basic support amount is always based on the both parents’ combined annual income — not the income of the non-custodial parent alone — but mandatory add-ons can be included for daycare, medical costs, and other costs. Basic support is first calculated based on the initial cap of $143,000 in combined income. If income of both parents exceeds this cap, the court can determine if there should be additional support ordered for the amount exceeding the limit.
How Basic Child Support is Calculated
In New York, child support is based on the combined annual income of both parents. Forms of income include gross income, investment income, and benefits like retirement income, workers’ compensation, and unemployment income. New York courts even have discretion to add additional sources of income or sizeable assets like non-incoming producing assets, cars or memberships provided as a form of compensation, and services that are provided by friends or family members.
After calculating the total income of both parents, some deductions will be made. These include:
This amount will then by multiplied by a percentage:
The non-custodial parent is not required to pay the full combined child support amount; instead, he or she pays their pro rata share up to the income cap. When the payee spouse has much higher income than the non-custodial spouse, the amount of child support that will be payable will be much lower than it would have been otherwise.
When Income Exceeds the Limit
When income exceeds the cap, the court must be shown why additional support should be granted. This is an important step in determining a fair child support amount as a child’s lifestyle could change substantially if support is only granted up to the cap. Without the court going beyond the cap, parents with a combined income of $143,000 would have the same child support obligation as parents who make $400,000 each yet have much higher housing and schooling expenses.
When income of both parents exceeds the $143,000 cap, the court can consider factors that may support increasing child support. Sometimes the court applies the same standard formula to the income exceeding the limit or it can make adjustments based on the factors of the case.
The court can consider many factors:
When the courts determine if additional support should be paid on income exceeding the cap, they may consider the amount the non-custodial parent pays for support add-ons and additional costs like health care, daycare, and educational costs like college tuition or private school.
Daycare is one of the most common add-ons to basic support. When the custodial parent works, seeks employment, or trains or attends school to lead to employment, daycare costs can be added to the combined income in a share equal to the income of each parent.
Health care insurance premiums and reasonable health care costs are allocated just like daycare.