How is Child Support determined? Can it be adjusted?

November 07, 2018

child supportNew York law requires both parents to continue supporting their children after a divorce until the child reaches the age of 21. There are two types of child support:

  • Basic: based on the combined incomes of the parents and is a percentage of that income paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent.
  • Add-on: Additional child support paid to cover specific expenses for the children, such as medical or educational expenses, and is in proportion to your income (so one parent may pay 55% while the other pays 45%).

How is child support determined?

The court initially determines each parent’s gross income from the previous full year. This income includes salary, investments, interest, worker’s comp, unemployment, and veteran’s benefits, among others. In some cases, the court can “impute,” or attribute a certain amount of income if the party has lied or if their income is not easily proven, such as self-employment. This income is then reduced base on specific expenses, such as taxes, child support paid for another child by court order, or spousal maintenance paid to a former spouse by court order. The parents’ incomes are then combined, and a percentage is applied based on the number of children. That percentage is then divided proportionately between the two parents.

Can it be adjusted?

There are several reasons that child support can be modified. Some examples include:

  • Income of one or both parents has changed
  • One or both parents have lost their job
  • Incarceration of one parent
  • One parent has another child from another relationship
  • The child’s needs have changed, resulting in a need for more or less financial support
  • Changes to any of the factors used to calculate child support
  • Significant changes to the amount of time the child spends with each parent

A family law attorney in White Plains NY can help you determine what to do to establish or modify child support. Contact the West Chester divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Nicole Muscente, for a consultation and information regarding your specific case.