Section 240 of the Domestic Relations Law of New York and Section 413 of the Family Court Act state that child support shall be awarded on fixed minimum percentages of the first $80,000 of combined parental income. This was amended to state that these awards shall be based upon the first $130,000 of combined parental income. The minimum amounts of the awards are 17% of the combined income for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children and 35% for five or more children. The non custodial parent pays his/her share of this to the custodial parent for child support.
Common questions concerning this change:
Q. Currently, do the court’s normally limit support awards to $80,000 of income or do they go higher?
A. Courts today normally go higher then $80,000 and limit child support to an amount reasonable to meet the child’s needs and lifestyle. This amount varies from county to county depending on cost of living and from case to case and judge to judge depending upon subjective discretion and case by case circumstances .
Q. So then what is the practical affect of this amendment to raise the minimum threshold of income used to calculate support from $80,000 of combined parental income to $130,000?
A. It remains to be seen. Some say there will be no practical affect since Courts normally have not been limiting support below the new $130,000 level anyway. Others say it will affect upper income people in that whatever income number the court may have used in the past to limit a support award on will be higher now.