The short answer is that support payments will be a percentage of the parents' combined income, and this percentage is derived from the number of children the parents have together. This calculation applies to parents who have a combined income of under $136,000, but this number will change in 2014. For now, what this means is that child support will equal:
- 17 percent of the parents' income if they have one child
- 25 percent of their income for two children
- 29 percent of combined parental income when there are three children
- 31 percent of parents' income if they have four children
- At least 35 percent of the combined parental income if there are five children or more
So if you are the parent who has the most physical custody and you make $20,000, and the other parent earns $30,000, this would put the combined parental income at $50,000. If you have one kid together, then that means child support would be a total of $8,500. As your income accounts for 40 percent of the combined income, you would pay 40 percent of child support, or $3,400. The other parent must pay 60 percent, and make these payments to you, while you would have no checks to write. A court would assume that you already pay for child support directly, since the child lives most of the time with you. This is for basic child support.
Now there may be further payments required, depending on such things as the custodial parent's career, or whether he or she is pursuing education. A court may also order more in payments for a child's medical needs, and/or for the child's schooling. Using the above example, you would still be responsible for forty percent of these child support payments, the other parent for sixty.
If your combined parental income amounts to more than $136,000 a year, then a court will decide how to calculate child support. This could mean using the above formula for the first $136,000, or for the entirety of your combined income. If a court only uses the formula up to a point, then a court would look at several issues before ordering child support from the additional income. A judge would look at the financial situation of each parent, the physical and mental needs of the child, as well as how child support would affect each parent's tax season. A court might also look at what the child's lifestyle would have been were it not for divorce. Any education or training a parent needs would also be taken into account, as would the nonfinancial provisions each parent would be responsible for in raising the child.
If you have any further questions about child custody or support, please do not hesitate to
contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. Our experienced Long Island divorce lawyer is equipped to help clients solve their custody and support issues, as well as any other difficulties they face in a divorce.