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Child Support

This section addresses general questions pertaining to child support. It is not meant to be a complete legal guide. Each case is unique, and your situation may not be covered by this information.

Child Support:

Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent (weekly, biweekly or monthly) for the support and maintenance of the children. Child support ceases when a child reaches the age of twenty-one (21) or is earlier emancipated. By agreement, the parties may make provisions for child support to be paid beyond age twenty-one, for example, until the child completes a college education.

New York State Child Support Standards Act Guidelines:

New York has guidelines by which courts determine child support and the statute governing child support is called the Child Support Standards Act, which Act defines income and outlines those deductions that are to be taken before child support is determined. Depending on the number of children you have, a designated percentage is applied to the income to calculate child support (i.e., 17% of adjusted gross income when there is one child; 25% of adjusted gross income when there are two children; 29% of adjusted gross income when there are three children, etc.). Again, the Child Support Standards Act contains the guidelines in determining child support.

In addition to basic child support payments, the Child Support Standards Act also provides that parents share the cost of certain expenses such as work-related child care and medical insurance based on each parent’s proportionate share of the income. You should ask your attorney for a copy of the Child Support Standards Act and the worksheet contained in the guidelines.

Methods of Payment:

The first months of separation are very important in establishing patterns of support payments. The custodial parent should expect support to be paid in full and on time. The non-custodial parent should always pay by check or money order and indicate the payment for "Child Support for (month), (year)." For example, Child Support August, 2003. In addition, custodial parents can choose to have child support payments paid to a Support Collection Unit, which is an agency that oversees all child support payments.


Child support orders may be enforceable by means of garnishment, wage deduction, execution, liens on property or contempt.