Child Support Lawyer in Garden City, NY

In every state in the United States, including New York, both parents are responsible for supporting their child or children in the event of a divorce. According to, in 2015, a total of $33.7 billion dollars in child support was owed, with the average yearly amount due $5,760—or about $500 per month. Unfortunately, only about 60 percent of the amount of child support owed in the U.S. is actually received. Despite this, only about 21.7 percent of custodial parents asked for government assistance to collect back child support. For those wondering how these numbers shake out as far as women vs. men who are awarded child support, about 52.7 percent of single custodial mothers were awarded child support in 2016, while 39.6 percent of custodial single fathers were awarded child support during the same year.

Child support, like spousal support, tends to be one of many contentious issues for divorcing couples, however, child support like spousal support is determined based on a specific calculation.  You can estimate your entitlement here: child support calculator. While it is expected that both parents will share the financial responsibility for their children’s needs, this will virtually never result in a 50/50 split between parents. Child support payments are divided on a proportional basis, according to the total income of each parent. In other words, in its broadest terms, the parent who makes 30 percent of the combined income will be responsible for 30 percent of the basic amount of child support.

The custodial parent is already presumed to be paying his or her share of child support on the child or children, so the child support payments come from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. For those who are confused about New York child support—or wondering how much they will pay or receive—help is available from The Law Office of Katherine Ryan. Attorney Katherine Ryan has been helping parents make the right choices for their child during divorce since she founded her law firm and is highly knowledgeable regarding New York laws surrounding child custody and support issues.

Determining New York Child Support

A starting point for determining New York child support is the federal tax returns of each parent, although there will likely be much more as far as income. For purposes of determining child support, “income” will include salary, bonuses, annuity payments, fellowships, stipends, veteran’s benefits, pensions, unemployment, disability, and worker’s compensation.

Items such as already ordered spousal support and child support can be deducted from total income, as can public assistance and taxes, which have already been paid. In the state of New York, child support is set at a fixed percentage of parental income, depending on the number of children, up to $154,000 (as of 2020, and minus Medicare, FICA, and NY tax deductions). When the income of the spouses goes above $154,000, the court can choose whether or not to adhere to the percentage guidelines.

Basically, a parent can estimate his or her fair share of child support by using New York guidelines which assign the following percentages:

  • 17 percent for one child
  • 25 percent for two children
  • 29 percent for three children
  • 31 percent for four children
  • At least 35 percent for five or more children

Child support orders will typically include healthcare for the child, such as premiums for health insurance and any out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child. If the child has a medical condition or other special need, medical expenses can be a very important part of child support. If both parents could potentially provide health care insurance for the child through their employment, it will be determined which parent will provide the coverage, then this calculation will be factored into the total amount of child support.   If the custodial parent is either working or attending school, the basic child support award may be increased to include a share of childcare expenses.

Under certain circumstances, the court may include the value of an asset like an employment perk, a gift, or a vacation home as a part of one parent’s income. Further, if one of the parents refuses to find gainful employment—or quits a job as a method of avoiding child support—the court will impute income to that parent. This means that education, employment history, and past wages will be considered when determining what the parent could reasonably make if he or she was working.

The amount determined by the court will be imputed as that parent’s income, and child support will be decided using that number. While parents may always pay more than the amount determined under NY guidelines, they may not pay less. The only exception to the NY child support guidelines occurs when the non-custodial parent’s income is below the federal poverty level ($12,760 in 2019). Under these circumstances (and assuming the parent is not deliberately unemployed or underemployed), child support may be established at $25 per month, with arrears capped at $500.

Can the Guidelines for NY Child Support Be Modified?

The court will presume that the child support amount as calculated by the guidelines is appropriate, however, a parent may ask the judge for a modification under certain circumstances. The following factors may be considered when determining whether the child support amount should be modified:

  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents had not divorced;
  • The child’s physical health;
  • The child’s emotional health;
  • Any special needs of the child;
  • The financial resources of each parent;
  • Any financial resources of the child;
  • Contributions made by either parent toward the care of the child, even when those contributions are not monetary in nature;
  • The tax consequences for each parent;
  • Each parent’s potential educational needs;
  • Whether the gross income of one parent is significantly less than that of the other parent;
  • Whether there are other children in the family with special needs;
  • Expenses related to the non-custodial parent’s visitation, and
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant.

Getting Help for NY Child Support from The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C.

Attorney Katherine Ryan helps couples going through a divorce, who need assistance with asset division, custody issues, child support, and spousal support, although she specifically targets divorces with complex custody or financial circumstances. Katherine believes in always being prepared and working toward litigation while ensuring the right outcome possible when the client chooses a settlement.

Those who choose The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., will find that deadlines are always met, and the attorneys in the firm focus on the whole client, ensuring each client has access to answers to all their questions that accompany a family in transition. Katherine Ryan represents clients in Garden City, Stewart Manor, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Huntington, Melville, Woodbury, Commack, Smithtown, Syosset, Jericho, Roslyn, and Manhasset.  Contact The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C. today for a comprehensive evaluation of your family law issue.