When the New York State Supreme Court or Family Court determines that a parent must pay child support, the court calculates the payments through a formula applied to the combined gross income of the parents minus the amounts each parent actually paid for FICA, that is, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. In most cases, a judge must follow the formula set forth by the Child Support Standards Act in the Domestic Relations Law.
However, when applying the formula set forth in the Child Support Standards Act would be unjust or inappropriate, the court may set aside the formula and make a decision as to child support based on certain factors and how they apply to the specific case. These factors include the financial resources of the parents and child, the health of the child, any special needs the child may have, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage or household had not been dissolved, tax consequences, non-monetary contributions by the parents to the care of the child, the educational needs of either parent, the comparative incomes of the parents, and other case-specific factors. In these cases, the court will determine the amount of child support, explaining why it chose to disregard the child support formula. The court must set forth the factors it considered in making its decision.
It is important, when facing a child support issue, to have an experienced attorney by your side to help you determine what is best for you and your children.