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What to Know About Filing Child Support In New York

A primary concern in a New York divorce or child custody case involving a child younger than 21 is how each parent will be financially responsible for the child — here’s what to know about filing child support in New York.

If a child’s parents are unable to reach an agreement, a family court will use a standard formula to calculate each parent’s  “basic child support obligation.” Child support is intended to cover expenses for the child’s shelter, food, clothing, school expenses, etc. Additionally, there are necessary add-on expenditures, such as healthcare costs and, if appropriate, daycare fees. 

Here’s what you should know about filing child support in New York and how an experienced family lawyer can help you. 

Documents Needed for Filing Child Support In New York: The Basics 

Visit the New York State Department of Child Support Services (NYS DCSS) before filing for child support.  There, you’ll find out when the support office opens and closes, what paperwork you’ll need to bring in order to file for child support, and whether you can make an appointment ahead of time.

Here’s a look at the key documentation you should have when you visit the DCSS: 

  • An updated picture ID, such as an international passport, driver’s license, or a state-issued ID card
  • Written proof of your current New York address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or a copy of your lease 
  • Certificates of birth for each child you are requesting support payments for 
  • The current location, place of employment, and contact information of each child’s father

If you were not married to the child’s father at the time of their birth, you may need to legally establish paternity prior to filing child support. A New York court will not order an unmarried father to pay child support without first determining the child’s biological paternity. 

When filing for child support in New York, these additional documents may be useful. If the following are relevant to your case, you should make a note to bring them with you to every visit with the DCSS: 

  • Proof of social security numbers, such as your cards or tax returns 
  • Proof of your income if applicable, such as a W-2 or recent pay stub
  • Proof of your ex’s income, if you have it
  • Proof of child support payments you have already received 
  • Proof of property or real estate that you or your ex owns 
  • A copy of your divorce agreement 
  • Copies of any child support orders already issued 

Frequently Asked Questions About New York Child Support 

Is child support mandatory in New York?

Like most other states, New York requires that both parents of a child provide them with financial support until they reach adulthood. This is called a “basic support obligation” and means that each parent is responsible for providing financial care to the child up to the amount deemed affordable by a family court. 

Can parents agree to waive child support? 

Yes. You and your ex can waive your right to receive child support in writing. You must state that you have been informed of New York’s Domestic Relations Law 240 (1-b) and Family Court Act 413(1)(b) in the agreement, and you must include information about how much your child support obligation would have been, that the basic support obligation would have been the correct amount of support, and why your agreement must be considered instead. 

The above-mentioned requirements are in place to ensure that parents are informed of their legal rights and obligations before waiving them. Child support obligations cannot be waived by either parent alone or their legal counsel. This means that both parents have to agree to deviate from New York’s child support standards, and even then, the arrangement isn’t legally binding until it’s authorized by a family court.

How much child support will I receive?

If you are ordered to receive child support, the amount paid to you will largely depend on how much money your ex earns. However, there are several other considerations taken into account when calculating child support in New York, including the custodial parent’s income. 

The standard formula used to calculate basic child support obligations is as follows: 

  • 1 child – 17% of the combined income of both parents 
  • 2 children – 25% of the combined income of both parents 
  • 3 children – 29% of the combined income of both parents 
  • 4 children – 31% of the combined income of both parents 
  • 5 or more children – a minimum of 35% of the combined income of both parents 

How much child support will I pay?

If you are ordered to pay child support, you’re likely asking, “how much is child support in New York?” The percentage of the basic support obligation you are responsible for depends on what percentage of the combined income comes from you. 

For example, say you have two children by the same father and your total combined parental income is $100,000 annually. Your ex earns $30,000 and you earn $70,000. In this case, the total child support obligation would be $25,000 per year. You would be responsible for 70%, or $17,500. 

Does child support increase when a father welcomes another child?

Yes. If a person fathers another child with the same person or someone else, the amount of child support they will be required to pay will go up. See above for the percentage of combined parental income NYS DCSS attributes to child support obligations. 

When does child support terminate in New York?

A child in New York State has the right to be financially maintained by both parents until they reach the age of 21. This obligation ends when the child turns 21 or the child is emancipated, serving in the U.S. military, married, or becomes otherwise self-supporting.

Contact New York Child Support Lawyer Heidi E. Opinsky Today 

An experienced New York child support attorney can help ensure your children receive the financial care they deserve. Contact Heidi E. Opinsky today to learn more or to schedule your initial consultation by dialing 203-653-3542.