New York laws are making calculating child support kind of tricky. Many different circumstances can affect the total payment amount. Read on to learn about child support obligations in New York, and how to calculate child support in New York in the event of a divorce.
New York’s Two Levels of Child Support
New York has two kinds of child support: necessary and with add-ons. The basic level covers living expenses like food, shelter, and clothing. The add-ons level includes expenses like medical expenses, health insurance, childcare, and sometimes even education and therapy. Every divorce will require the necessary level of support as a minimum, and probably at least a few add-ons.
New York’s Child Support Guidelines
In New York, divorced parents must make child support payments until their children are 21. The payment amount for the primary level is a percentage of both parents’ total income and based in part on how many children are in the family. The non-custodial parent makes the child support payments. If custody is split 50/50, then the parent with the higher income makes the payments. Responsibility for add-ons is divided in proportion to each parent’s share of their combined income. If the married couples’ combined income is higher than $148,000, the courts sometimes veer from these guidelines.
Step 1: Determining the Combined Gross Income
To start calculating your required child support payments, you need to figure out the combined gross income of both parents. Your gross income is the income you reported on your federal taxes, which includes income from a regular job as well as income from self-employment. You should be aware that the courts sometimes also include non-taxable employment benefits or financial assistance in the gross income total. Add your gross income to your spouse’s gross income to get the combined gross income.
Step 2: Determining the Child Support Net Income
Next, subtract Medicare taxes and social security for both you and your partner. If you live in NYC, Yonkers, or certain other cities, subtract local taxes as well. If either you or your spouse is paying spousal support, deduct it from the paying parent’s income and add it to the receiving parent’s income.
Step 3: Determining the Basic Obligation
Your primary child support obligation is also determined by the number of children in your family. If you have one child, multiply the net income you just calculated by 0.17. If you have two children, multiply it by 0.25. Multiply it by 0.29 for three children. Multiply it by 0.31 for four children. Multiply it by 0.35% for five children. The result is the fundamental yearly obligation you and your spouse together owe for child support.
Step 4: Determining each Parent’s Obligation
Divide your yearly income by the combined parental annual income. Multiply the result by the fundamental child support obligation you just calculated. This is the amount you are responsible for. Subtract this amount from the primary child support obligation. This is the amount your spouse owes. Whichever of you is, the non-custodial parent will have to pay his or her share of the child support obligation to the custodial parent.
There is no simple way to calculate the add-on level of child support that a court would insist on. Tutoring, summer camp, piano lessons, and more might all have to be added on to the necessary amount of child support obligation if you and your spouse had a pre-nuptial agreement stipulating this. A negotiated divorce agreement might also require you to include these add-ons. In exceptional circumstances, the court might consider some of these add-ons a requirement even outside of a contract. New York law does mandate health insurance premiums, the cost for childcare that allows the custodial parent to go to work, and unreimbursed medical expenses be included.
Divorce Mediation and Child Support in New York
Every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and the primary method of calculating child support obligations might not work for your family. Mediation can help with this. Litigation uses a lot of money and time that could instead be spent on improving the children through the divorce. Mediation allows for a more child-centric approach to divorce, one that cooperatively develops a plan that is in the best interests of the children.
Mediation allows for a lot of creativity and flexibility, and litigation does not. For example, in one family’s case, it might work out best for everyone if the custodial parent takes a more significant share of the assets in the divorce in exchange for significantly lowering the child support obligation of the other parent.
If you opt for the mediation approach, your mediator will review all your needs and your children’s needs with you, and help you engage in productive discussions with your spouse. Also, the mediator can help you work together to find unique and creative solution that works for everyone, particularly for your children.
Divorce Mediation allows child custody to be personalized to each family
Divorce Mediation can be innovative in ways that you cannot be in litigation. Judges in court can take a more rigid approach and apply the standard child support guidelines with no regard to the parent’s individual needs, may not be in the best interest of the child.
When using mediation, if both parties are committed to working together for the best interests of the children, they combine their mental and financial resources and to come up with a practical solution rather than waste time and money on arguing and attorney’s fees.
During mediation, the needs and priorities of both sides are examined to come up with options and solutions that can work for everyone. Productive discussions and brainstorming during your mediation and help develop creative solutions that work based on your family circumstances.
Let Us Make Mediation Work for You and Your Child Custody Support Case
Are you looking for more information on how to calculate child support in New York? Let us at The Mediation and Family Counseling Group help you with that.
When you start your divorce mediation with Mediation and Family Counseling Group, automatically, you can have access to a Family and Couples Therapist during your session as well as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. The help of the CDFA can help you reach a quick decision with the best possible financial outcome for the family. Trustingly you have attained the knowledge you need from our Child Support Calculations Tips to proceed with your case with confidence and have a successful outcome.
Call us at 1-800-945-6802 or find our closest location at The Mediation and Family Counseling Group, www.mediationandcounseling.com. Also, we can give child support calculations guidance to help you reach a solution everyone agrees on, by doing what is best for your children. Let the Mediation and Family Counseling help you also learn the benefits of Divorce Mediation that will make your child support calculations for New York go much smoother and not to mention less expensive than going to court.