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Introduction to Calculating Your Child Support Payment in New York

This blog is meant to give an introduction to Child Support in New York State.  It can be used by either the non-custodial parent who has to pay child support or the custodial parent who will be receiving child support.

Be forewarned, for those who do not like to do “math”, you might be intimidated by some of the calculations stated herein.  However, there are many online calculators that can help you “do the math”.  This article will help you to know what numbers to put into the calculators and give you an explanation of the calculations that are being done.


I. Income

In New York, the amount of money you have to pay in child support is is based on your income. For purposes of child support, the first step is to determine what your “gross income” is for child support purposes. For Child Support purposes, your gross income includes:

(i) All income earned from employment;
(ii) Any Business income;
(iii) Self-employment income;
(iv) Certain non-taxable benefits; and
(v) Other miscellaneous benefits and income (for example, workers’ compensation, investment income).

Generally, for most people, the gross income that is shown on their W2 statement is what is used for determining gross income. The important thing to remember, is that gross income is not going to equal your “take home pay” or “net income”.

Please also note that the Court can assign income to you. This is called “imputed income”. There are a few instances where a Court may impute income to you. Typically, they occur in two instances. The first example is if you are “working off the books” and do not report your income, the Court can assign (impute) the income that the Court believes you are actually earning or capable of earning.

The next example is if you decide not to work (stay-at-home parent), even though you are capable of working. The Court can assign (impute) income to you, assuming that if you did have a job, even if this was at the minimum wage, you could earn that much income and assign that income to you.

II. Deductions

From your gross income, you are allowed some limited deductions. This is much different than the deductions you might be used to on your tax returns. For Child Support purposes, you are allowed to deduct the following from your gross income:

(i) Social Security Tax paid;
(ii) Medicare Tax paid;
(iii) New York City and Yonkers Income Tax paid;
(iv) Child Support paid for a child that is NOT a subject of this child support order;
(v) Unreimbursed employee business expenses; and
(vi) Public assistance and supplemental security income.

Typically, for most people the only deductions you can take are the amounts you pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes. You would simply add up the amount of Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes you paid and then deduct that amount from your gross income. The amount of Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes that you paid are listed on your W2 form.

Once you deduct Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes, from your “gross income”, you get what is known in the legal community as your “Child Support Standards Act” (or “CSSA”) income. Your CSSA income and the other parent’s CSSA income are the basis of what is used in the child support calculations.

Once again, it is important to remind yourself that your “CSSA Income” and your gross income or net income are much different.

III. Spousal Maintenance

There is one last adjustment you might need to make. If either party is paying spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support), then the amount of maintenance is either added or subtracted to each parent’s CSSA income.

IV. The Calculations

The next step is to add both parent’s CSSA income to determine the “Combined Parental Income”.

If the Combined Parental Income is less than or equal to the so-called “Child Support Cap” – which in 2022 is $163,000.00, then you calculate child support as follows. Please note that every 2 years, this cap goes up and it is scheduled to increase in 2024.

Multiply the Combined Parental Income by the following percentages:
• One child: 17%
• Two children: 25%
• Three children: 29%
• Four children: 31%
• Five or more children: At least 35%

This will give the total child support obligation. To determine each parent’s share, you have to determine each parent’s share of the combined parental income. For example, if one parent earned $100,000 and the other parent’s income was $50,000, the combined parental income is $150,000 and parent “A”’s share of the combined income is 66.7% and parent “B”’s share is 33.3%.

To determine your share, you multiply your percentage share and the total child support obligation. The non-custodial parent will pay this amount, while the custodial parent doesn’t pay anything to the other parent.

To get an estimate of what the non-custodial parent has to pay in child support, you can simply multiply the percentage determined by how many children there are by your CSSA income. This will be very close (or sometimes the exact number) of how much the non-custodial parent will have to pay in child support. For example, if you are the non-custodial parent and your CSSA income is $90,000 and there are two children, your child support obligation will be approximately $22,500 per year or $1,875.00 per month ($90,000 times .25 = $22,500).

If the Combined Parental Income is greater than the so-called “Child Support Cap” – which in 2022 is $163,000.00, then you calculate child support as follows.

You follow all the steps above and then after you compute the so-called “below-the-cap” number, you need to also compute how much “above the cap” the parents will be paying child support for. This number varies from case to case, so there is no “rule” I can give you. If your combined income is greater than the cap, then you should see an attorney for more information.

As you can see child support is not as easy as some believe it is. If you need help in determining how much child support you need to pay and have a child support issue, then call: David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.

If you are seeking a divorce or child support, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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