Long Island Child Support Lawyer
Helping parents seek financial support during or after a divorce
The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) is a set of guidelines set forth in Section 240 of the Domestic Relations Law and Section 413 of the Family Court Act. The CSSA shifts the emphasis from “a balancing of the expressed needs of the child and the income available to the parents after expenses” to “the total income available to the parents and the standard of living that should be shared with the child.” Cassano v. Cassano, 85 N.Y.2d 649 (New York Court of Appeals 1995).
The CSSA establishes a basic formula for calculating child support based upon the parents combined income and the number of unemancipated children. All types of income are considered, not only the income reported on tax return. For example, some sources of income that are considered are wages, dividends, interest, business and investment income and gains, voluntarily deferred income or compensation, most cash benefits, pensions and retirement benefits, fellowships and stipends and annuity payments.
The applicable percentages of the total combined income are as follows:
one (1) child 17%,
two (2) children 25%,
three (3) children 29%,
four (4) children 31%, and
five (5) or more children 35%.
The basic child support obligation is based upon the non-custodial parent’s pro-rata share of the combined parental income (for all types of income including voluntarily deferred income and cash benefits) after deductions for FICA (social security and medicare taxes), city taxes, child support paid on behalf of another child, and alimony paid to a former spouse or agreed to be paid to the other parent and unreimbursed employee business expenses.
As an example, if you have a mother as the custodial parent with a CSSA income of $67,500 after deductions, and a father as the non-custodial parent with a CSSA income of $120,000 after deductions, the CSSA calculations are as follows for two (2) children:
|Mother’s income (after deductions)
Father’s income (after deductions)
|First $80,000 of combined income
Two children: 25%
|Combined income over $80,000||
|Combined child support obligation||
$30,000 per year
($2,500 per month)
Additionally, mandatory statutory “add-ons” include the pro-rata share of child care necessifated by the custodial parent being employed or attending school and medical expenses. Discretionary add-ons include education expenses for the child.
It is to be noted that parties may enter into agreement which deviates from the CSSA as long as the agreement recites the CSSA obligations and the reasons for differing from said obligations.
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