Results of a 2009 census revealed that more than 13.7 million custodial parents share custody of their children in the United States. Of these parents, over half (54 percent) were found to have some form of child support agreement in place. In accordance with the child support enforcement (“CSE”) program, every state is required to:
- Define and uphold child support enforcement laws;
- Offer procedures for parents to obtain child support and establish paternity;
- Assist in child support collection, when necessary, and
- Enforce penalties for unpaid child support.
The primary factors in determining child support payment amounts is based on each parent’s annual income and the number of children involved in the child support action. In New York, when the parents’ annual incomes each exceed $130,000, the family court judge must decide whether to use the standard guidelines when determining monthly child support amounts. Often times, in these cases, the court will look toward the child’s needs instead of the predetermined percentages.
In addition to the monthly adjusted gross income and the number of children, the court will consider other factors including shared child care, medical expenses, and education expenses. Education expenses can be especially important if the child is close to college-aged. If parents are considering placing the child in private school, they will need to discuss this issue as part of the divorce process to determine how the tuition will be paid.
However, finances are merely one aspect of supporting a child. A family court judge may also consider shared custody plans and vis itation when determining a monthly child support amount.