Child Support Bullets Part 1: Guideline amounts and temporary orders

Kissing-Parents-300x200If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I have been producing a series of bullet-point guides that cover various common topics associated with divorce, family law, child custody, and similar concerns.

Today, I’m starting a new bullet series that will cover an important aspect of family law: child support. When it comes to living separately from the other parent of your child or getting a divorce from your partner, determining how you are going to continue looking after your child properly is an important consideration. Child support can be a crucial aspect in ensuring that your child can maintain the same quality of life after a divorce is complete.  It is also important to think about how the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent will be able to still take care of themselves/

Today’s child support bullet point guide will introduce the basics of how New York courts determine the right amount of support to give to a parent in a child support case. We will also discuss the concept of temporary orders for child support.

How Does New York Calculate Child Support Amounts?

The New York Courts and your child support lawyers use a specific formula called the Child Support Standards Act to determine the guideline level of child support to award after a divorce. The statute was created to give a standard degree of child support for parents to pay based on their income and other specific factors. As an attorney and mediator in New York, this is a formula I am very familiar with.

  • To calculate the right amount of child support for a child in a New York divorce, the courts start by examining the parties gross income. This is the amount that they make before certain statutory deductions are removed. Each party will then be entitled to specific deductions (or additions for the recipient of maintenance) for child support, such as FICA taxes, any local taxes (such as for NYC or Yonkers), and child support payments (pursuant to a court order or written agreement.
  • The courts will also consider the amount that the person might be paying or receiving as far as maintenance costs from a previous divorce. There are various other, less common deductions enumerated in the statute for child support guidance.
  • After the gross income is determined for the parents involved in the case, the two parties will have determined their income pro-rata share (percentage of the total combined income), which helps the courts to see how much of the household income a party contributed. If a mother made 75,000 and a father made 25,000 for instance, the pro-rata share for the mother would be 75%. The guideline percentage shares of child support are; for one child is 17%; 25% for two children; 29% for three children; and 31% for four or more children.
  • The more children there are to consider from the divorce, the more the person responsible for child support will usually pay, according to the guidelines. Additional add on costs might need to be considered for things like healthcare, child care and educational expenses.

Can Support be Ordered Temporarily?

Pendente lite or temporary motions can be common for child support in a divorce (divorces are done in the New York Supreme Courts).  In family court temporary orders can be made while the case is pending.  In a pendete lite motion the person in question will ask the court to grant relief from certain financial issues during the course of the divorce. Once the divorce becomes final, the order may not continue as a final order will be made.

  • Pendente lite orders can cover a range of things, including parenting time, custody, and the temporary residence for the children involved in the case. There are occasions where the courts might assign an attorney to the children to help with issues involving children that are not resolved immediately. The orders that are made during a case will not necessarily be the orders that continue after the divorce is settled.
  • There are cases where the people in a divorce might also request other temporary orders, like exclusive use of a marital residence while the divorce is ongoing. This is often more common when it is shown that there could be potential risks to the family members if they continue to live with the same person in the same household.
  • The most common temporary orders provided in a divorce case involving children are usually temporary maintenance and child support. Both of these are discussed in further details throughout this blog and my website. There is a presumptive set of guidelines that courts can use for both maintenance and child support payments.
  • Child care expenses, uncovered health expenses, educational expenses, and temporary counsel fees are also possible things that may be considered when ruling on a case that involves children in a divorce. A family law attorney such as I should be able to assist you in making or opposing requests for temporary orders.

Child support can be a complicated aspect of family law or divorce law for many couples, as it’s difficult to know at first what is reasonable to ask for when you need help with looking after a child. With an attorney such as myself, you will be able to discuss your unique needs during your child support or divorce case, and request both the permanent and temporary orders you need.

If you have any concerns about the topics we’ve discussed above, you can view the other blogs on this website, or contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule your initial consultation (up to the first half hours is free). There’s an online contact form you can use, or you contact us at (516) 333-6555.

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