Like other states, New York has a set formula that courts are supposed to use when deciding on child support.
In a divorce or other family law proceeding, this formula is supposed to ensure that parents in similar financial situations pay similar amounts of child support.
The system is pretty streamlined for many New Yorkers. The formula involves parents paying a portion of their income toward child support. Oftentimes, calculating income involves little more than reviewing each parent’s paycheck.
Such is not the case for high-earners.
For parents in White Plains and Westchester County who bring in a lot of income or have income from sources other than their jobs, calculating the correct amount of child can be complicated and may also lead to some conflict.
A range of people can be considered high-earners
Currently, for child support purposes, if two parents earn more than $163,000 income between them, New York’s child support formula might not apply strictly. Although it might not seem like it to them, many families make income higher than this threshold amount.
To give an example, if a couple who earns $100,000 between them has two children, then 25% of their income, or $25,000, goes to the support of their children.
However, if this same couple earns $200,000, then child support is at least $40,750. The judge has to make a decision regarding the remaining $37,000 of income. Judges may order 25% of that income to go to child support.
However, judges may also choose a different amount based on the couple’s unique circumstances and based on a number of factors. Not surprisingly, high-earning parents have room to disagree about how these factors might apply.
High-earning parents frequently have special income situations
What counts as “income” for child support purposes is broad. It can include, for example, certain fringe benefits from a job or gifts from family or friends. It also includes income from a parent’s business or self-employment.
The court may even decide to figure income without accounting for certain legal tax deductions.
These types of special child support situations can be hard to navigate.