Thursday, March 18, 2010



"There's a change in how child support is calculated in New York. The New York Child Support Modernization Act, starting January 31, 2010, changes the income range and formula used in figuring child support. The change means set rules apply when parents' incomes are up to $130,000. This number will adjust every two years, based on the Consumer Price index.

Three-Step Method for Determining Support

New York follows a three-step method for determining child support. First, the court adds up parents' combined income. Second, the combined income is multiplied by a certain percentage based on the number of children. For example, the combined income is multiplied by 17% if there's one child. Third, the court decides how much each parent pays for child support, based on each one's share of income.

Courts consider other factors besides combined income in setting child support. These factors include:

•Child's health and special needs
•Child's standard of living had parents stayed married
•Tax consequences
•Parents non-monetary contributions to the child
•Parents' educational needs
•Differences in parents' incomes
•Parents' children from other relationships and their support needs
•Out-of-the-ordinary visitation expenses
•Any other factors the court sees as important

Judges and magistrates have discretion in deciding support, and how they use the factors and methods above. However, a judge must explain his decision.

Impact of the New Law

The new law gives greater guidance given the new combined income cap amount - $130,000. It's expected more parents will use the new law and seek to update child support due to the income limit change. One purpose for the new law is to ensure that children receive sufficient support.

Questions for Your Attorney

•Is the change in the law a proper ground to ask for an increase in child support?
•Will the calculation of child support consider the income of someone who lives with me, such as a spouse if I remarry?
•How is the combined parental income determined?"

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