According to New York state law, an entire child support order is comprised of two parts: a basic child support obligation and additional child support categories. Child support is a mandatory obligation for parents with minor children, although in limited circumstances a court may approve a waiver of child support if agreed by the parties. The basic child support obligation is set using CSSA (Child Support Standards Act) guidelines. A basic child support order is based on parental incomes up to the income cap. The court will determine if additional support beyond the salary cap should be included in calculations. Child support guidelines, found in New York DRL 240, require the parties to contribute to certain expenses in addition to the basic child support payment. Generally, the additional expenses, which include daycare, uninsured health expenses, health care insurance costs, and college expenses (and sometimes private school costs prior to college), are shared by the parties pro rata, meaning the parent earning more pays a greater percentage of these costs.
How to Calculate Basic Child Support under the Child Support Standards Guidelines
New York State Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) was passed in 1989, making the child support guidelines very straightforward for calculating a benefit order. The law requires the usage of calculators found in Domestic Relations Law 240 (1-b) and Family Court Act 413. Failing to comply with these guidelines can lead to complications. Child support is a mandatory benefit for children – even if both parents have higher incomes or have similar incomes. According to state law, at the end of the guideline support process, a child support order must be awarded if there is a minor child. The court has the right to vary from the statutory child support calculation by rarely does so other than for shared (50/50) custody arrangements.
Basic Obligation, Mandatory Add-on & Other Child Support Expense Categories
Understanding how parenting expenses are treated and calculated into your support payments can be confusing. Essentially, the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay their share of the following expenses:
- Basic Needs: The noncustodial parent must pay their share of food, clothing, and shelter. Basic needs are the foundation of a child support order. The basic child support obligation award covers all these expenses.
- Healthcare Costs: Expenses like health insurance, copays, checkups, ER visits, glasses, and other medical, vision, and dental care are included as an add-on child support expense. Healthcare costs are considered mandatory add-on expenses.
- Education Expenses: Besides basic expenses for school, additional educational expenses like private school tuition or post-secondary college expenses can fall into this category.
- Childcare Services: Daycare, after-school care, and summer camp may be considered types of childcare expenses (summer camp is not always considered childcare and might not be ordered for contribution by a court).
Major Takeaways When Calculating Child Support Expenses in New York
The basic child support obligation is intended to help the custodial parent offset food, clothing, shelter, and any essential associated costs. The basic child support obligation doesn’t cover childcare or medical expenses because these expenses are covered as mandatory add-on expenses.
Livingston County Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be a confusing and emotional time for families, and tackling financial and child support issues can add to the stress of the process. Duke Law Firm, P.C. is here to help keep your child support award calculation on course, so you get the financial assistance your child deserves. Contact us today at (585) 449-4987 to schedule a consultation.