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Child Support

In New York State, under the Child Support Standards Act, there is a formula for determining the amount of “basic” child support (that is, money paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly), as well as allocating child support “add ons”, such as the cost of health insurance, uninsured health related expenses, child care expenses, and educational expenses. Child care expenses that are needed (where the custodial parent is working or receiving education in order to become employed), and health insurance and uninsured health related expenses are “mandatory” add ons, which mean that the court must allocate these expenses between the parents. Private school and college expenses, for instance, are “discretionary” add ons, which mean that the court may allocate these educational expenses depending upon the facts of the case, the financial circumstances and expectations of the parties, the educational background of the parties and the educational aptitude of the child, and the best interests of the child.

Parties may agree to, or a court may order, a deviation from the child support formula provided that the settlement agreement or order sets forth what child support would have been if the formula were applied, and provided the reasons for deviating from the formula are set forth in the agreement or court order.

In New York State, although there are other emancipation events, there is no legal obligation to support a child after turning age twenty one (21). However, recognizing that children may still be in college and in need of support after turning age 21, many parents obligate themselves as part of a settlement agreement to continue to provide child support and/or contribute toward college expenses until some other agreed upon date or event.