Authored by: Lisa M. Gardner, Esq.
Generally, in New York, child support is paid to the parent who has physical custody of the child(ren). Child support in New York is governed by a section of Domestic Relations Law commonly referred to as the "Child Support Standards Act" or "CSSA" for short. The CSSA sets forth a very specific formula to determine how much child support a parent is obligated to pay. Generally, the amount of child support is based on income and the number of children of the parties. The more children, the greater the percentage of income that a parent will be required to pay. The statutory child support percentages applied to income are as follows: 17% for one (1) child, 25% for two (2) children, 29% for three (3) children, 31% for four (4) children, and no less than 35% for five (5) or more children. The CSSA is a statute and, except in very rare cases, the Court will apply the relevant percentage to the parties' income and issue an order based on the result.
While parties can enter into a stipulation of settlement agreeing to waive the application of the statutory percentages, it is important to know that the agreement will only be valid if the parties set forth the correct statutory formula and specifically indicate why they are agreeing to deviate from the formula. If the agreement is not properly done, by default, the parties will be bound by the CSSA percentages.