What are New York's child support guidelines?

Understanding New York's Child Support Guidelines

In New York State, child support is a legal obligation and is critical for ensuring that a child's basic needs are met when parents are no longer together. The state has established guidelines which serve as the foundation for determining the financial responsibilities of each parent. These guidelines are designed to be equitable, ensuring that children receive the support they require while taking into account the financial ability of both parents.

Income Shares Model

New York follows the 'Income Shares Model' for calculating child support. This model is predicated on the concept that children should receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received if their parents lived together. To determine the amount of child support, the court combines both parents' incomes up to a specified cap (adjusted periodically for inflation) and then applies a standard percentage based on the number of children to be supported:

Additional Considerations

Beyond the basic percentage model, New York's child support guidelines allow for adjustments based on factors such as:

In addition to these guidelines, either parent may be required to contribute to childcare expenses, medical care, and educational costs. These are considered 'add-on' expenses and are typically divided between the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

Deviations from Standard Guidelines

Courts have discretion to deviate from the standard guidelines if they find that their application would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case. Reasons for deviation might include:

A historical reference point can be seen in landmark cases such as Weitzman v. Weitzman (1985), where New York courts began delineating clearer standards for support and maintenance. Over time, these standards evolved into today's systematic approach, which endeavors to mitigate financial disparities in upbringing post-separation.