The Child Support Standards Act

Once custody, even temporary custody is established by one party, that party has the right to seek Child Support from the non-custodial parent. Child Support in New York is governed by the Child Support Standards Act, which is essentially a statutory formula that takes into consideration the parents’ combined incomes, and assigns each parent a pro-rata share of the support obligation. Click here to view the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA).

The Child Support Standards Act is presumed to result in the correct amount of support. Currently, the Courts in New York will apply the parents’ combined income to the formula set forth in the Act up to the current statutory cap of $136,000. Recent legislative amendments to the Act have resulted in a Cost of Living Adjustment based on the CPI index to be applied every two years. In January 2012, the amount changed from $130,000 to $136,000. The next scheduled adjustment is January 2014. Applying income over the statutory cap in child support cases is possible, and is in the discretion of the Judge or Magistrate based on the statutory deviation factors provided in the Child Support Standards Act.

A Family Court Magistrate, or a Supreme Court Judge can order child support. Child support is payable regardless of whether the parents were ever married. Cases involving unmarried parents is handled by a Family Court Magistrate, while child support matters involving divorce or separation will be handled by a Supreme Court Justice. Once child support is ordered, payments can be made directly by one parent to the other. Payments can also be made through an income execution, where the monies are taken directly from the payor’s paycheck. Child Support is not taxable as income to the recipient. Similarly, the payor of Child Support is not eligible for a tax deduction for their payments.

Besides basic Child Support, a Judge or Magistrate can order payment of additional expenses, known as add on’s, such as unreimbursed medical expenses, extra-curricular activities, educational needs and day care. Additionally, a party can be ordered to provide or contribute toward medical insurance, and may be required to hold a policy of life insurance designed as security for child support.

Failure to make child support payments is an offense punishable as a contempt of court. If a violation proceeding is brought against a payor of child support for non-payment, that violation is presumed to be a willful violation. This means the payor has the burden of proving extenuating circumstances for non payment of support. Non-payment of Court Ordered support is punishable as a contempt of court, and a party can find their drivers’ license revoked, or even be subject to jail time in the event that they lose a violation proceeding. Know more :


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