How Does Child Support Get Calculated?

Bergen County and Rockland County Family Lawyers Explain the Child Support Guidelines

Photo of child on a swingSupporting a child both financially and emotionally is a responsibility of both parents. In New Jersey and New York, the child support guidelines dictate that the non-custodial parent pays child support to the primary custodial parent. The specific amount paid by each parent is calculated according to a certain formula, although the calculation is not always black and white.

An experienced child support attorney will ensure that you are informed about your rights and responsibilities regarding child support laws. The family law attorneys of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. have decades of experience representing parents in Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY. We represent both mothers and fathers in establishing a child support order that is in the best interests of the child and fair to parents.

How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey and New York?

Support is calculated based on the following factors:

  • Fair Income – a number of disparate sources constitute Fair Income, including W-2 income, 1099 income, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, unemployment benefits, retirement payouts and any other form of income.
  • Taxes and Deductions – There are very few deductions permitted in the child support payment guidelines.
  • Combined Net Income – After figuring the remaining income after taxes and deductions for both parents, the totals are combined to establish a basic child support award.
  • Dividing the Basic Child Support Award Based on Income – Depending on the difference in income between parents, the basic child support award is split accordingly.
  • Deductions for Parenting Time – If a non-custodial parent has more parenting time than an average case, he or she may receive special deductions from their child support payments.
  • Special Factors – The cost of additional factors, such as health insurance, extracurricular activities and day care, may be added to the basic child support award. In addition, certain factors can be subtracted from the basic child support award, such as child support payments for other children.
  • The Total Award – Once all of the above factors are considered, the child support hearing officer calculates a final award.

How is New York Child Support Calculated?

The standard formula for calculating New York child support begins with each parent’s annual yearly income as reported on their most recent tax return. Bear in mind that this includes all forms of income.

The resulting figures for each parent are then added together in a combined pool of income. To determine how much support the child needs in total, called the basic child support obligation, the combined figure is multiplied by a certain percentage for each child. The percentages of combined income per child are as follows:

  • 17 percent for one child
  • 25 percent for two children
  • 29 percent for three children
  • 31 percent for four children
  • 35 percent or more for five or more children

Once the basic child support obligation is calculated, the amount is split between the parents based on income and custody of the children. The basic child support obligation can also be supplemented with further support for education, day care expenses and healthcare. Such add-ons are also split between parents according to the income ratio.

If the parents’ combined income is greater than $136,000, then the courts have the option of using the previously described formula for all income, or only apply the formula to the first $136,000 of the combined income. The remaining income can then be used to support the child in regards to special needs, providing the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the divorce had not occurred and supporting other children dependent on the parent.

New York and New Jersey Child Support Attorneys Here to Help

Calculating child support payments can be a complicated ordeal with far-reaching consequences. Support payments will affect your finances for years to come, so it is best to get it right the first time. A child custody lawyer at KGG can also assist parents in need of child support enforcement and modification. By scheduling a consultation with one of our family law attorneys, you can get a clear idea of what documents you need to gather and what to expect in a hearing.