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The Child Support Standards Act (section 240(1-b) of the Domestic Relations Law and Section 413(1) of the Family Court Act) was developed to ensure that child support awards in New York State were fair and consistent. The goal is to give children the same standard of living they would have if their parents had resided together with the child or children. The law requires that the basic support award be set as a fixed percentage of combined parental income, depending on the number of children requiring support. The required percentages are as follows:
1 Child 17%
2 Children 25%
3 Children 29%
4 Children 31%
5 or more children at least 35%
The above percentages are applied to almost all parental earnings, currently up to $163,000 (minus NYC taxes and social security deductions). This includes worker's compensation, disability payments, unemployment insurance, social security, pensions and many other forms of income. After $163,000, the court may in its discretion use the percentage guidelines. The noncustodial parent will be responsible to pay their share of the child support obligation to the custodial parent.
The basic support amount must be increased to cover medical expenses not covered by insurance and child care expenses, if the custodial parent is working or in school. In addition, the court may increase the award to include educational expenses for the child. Parties are free to agree to waive the use of the guidelines. In these situations however, the court will determine whether the amount agreed to, is sufficient to provide adequate for the children. If not, the court will reject the parties' agreement.
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