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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in New York

Even after a divorce or separation, New York State requires both parents to financially provide for their children. Ultimately, the goal of child support is to ensure that children receive the same care and lifestyle that they would if their parents stayed together.

Because child support is based on a number of different factors, it can quickly become a source of tension for many parents. Whether you share custody of your children or are the custodial parent, you likely have a few questions about what to expect moving forward.

Understanding Child Support in NY

Though every family and case is unique, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions we receive regarding child support.

How is child support calculated?

When it comes to determining what you’ll pay or receive, New York State looks at how much money you make, how many children you have, and what your custody agreement is.

Traditionally in New York, custodial parents can expect to receive:

  • 17% of their ex’s income if they have one child.
  • 25% of their ex’s income if they have two children.
  • 29% of their ex’s income if they have three children.
  • 31% of their ex’s income if they have four children.
  • At least 35% of their ex’s income if they have more than 5 children.

However, there are exceptions and amendments made for those living under the poverty line or who make more than $148,000 per year.

Can child support ever be changed?

In the event of a serious life change, child support can absolutely be amended. Most commonly, child support is reduced if the noncustodial parent suddenly loses his or her job. However, it can also be increased if the noncustodial parent receives a significant promotion or comes into a large amount of money.

Traditionally, New York considers a 15% change in either party’s income a good reason to request a change in support (received or given).

What can child support be spent on?

Child support is not a blank check given from one party to the other. If you receive child support, it should be spent on:

  • Basic necessities, like food, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and phone bills.
  • Your child’s education.
  • Entertainment, like sports and extracurricular activities.
  • Medical care.

When does child support end?

In New York, child support traditionally ends once the child turns 21.

However, there are circumstances in which child support can end sooner. If your child is married, self-sufficient, or in the military before their 21st birthday, they’re considered “emancipated” and therefore no longer need to be supported by their parents.

Can fathers apply for child support?

Absolutely! Child support is based on income and time spent caring for the child, not gender. If the father is the custodial parent, he is entitled to child support from his ex spouse.

Can I fight paying child support?

Fighting child support is incredibly difficult — even those who make very little are still required to pay some amount to their former spouse.

What do I do if my ex doesn’t pay child support?

If your former partner doesn’t pay child support, he or she may be found in civil contempt of the law. As the custodial parent, you have every right to the money you and your children are entitled to. If your ex is consistently missing child support payments, contact a trusted, New York-based attorney.

For over a decade, Family Law Attorney Natalie Markfeld has helped New Yorkers in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties protect their rights and pursue their best interests in and out of the courtroom. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (718) 569-8618.