Child Support

{2:03 minutes to read} have 2 kids, so all I have to pay is 25% for child support, right?

OK, so you have researched the amount of child support on the internet and calculated the amount you have to pay and that’s it. Right? No!

Child support has several moving parts. They are:

The Formulaic Calculation

The formulaic calculation according to the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) says:

  • 17% for 1 child;
  • 25% for 2;
  • 29% for 3; and so on.

The percentage is of your gross income minus FICA (Social Security and Medicare contribution) up to the 2016 cap of $108,500. Any additional amount is a direct calculation of the excess income.

Statutory Add-Ons

When the CSSA formula was enacted, it soon became apparent that the calculated amount wasn’t enough. So, in addition to the formulaic calculation of child support, there are statutory add-ons such as:

  • Child care
  • Health care
  • Educational expenses

So what does child support really cover? Child support is for basic food, clothing and shelter. The mandatory add-ons are for additional expenses.

So, that’s it, right? That’s all I have to pay? Not so fast, buddy, there is more!

Discretionary Expenses

What are discretionary expenses? Well, kids have activities and need stuff:

  • School supplies
  • Sports equipment
  • Music lessons
  • Ballet lessons or martial arts

The myriad of activities that children are involved in is discretionary. If you can afford to pay for them, and you both agree it is a worthwhile expense for the children, then you both will agree on how those expenses are be paid.

So, this time, that is really everything, right? There couldn’t possibly be anything else? Not exactly.

College Expenses

While there is no statute directing parents to pay for college, in litigated cases, the cost of the college education is sometimes ordered by the judge, and sometimes not. In mediated cases, you can agree to:

  • No college obligation
  • Minimal college obligation (like a SUNY cap)
  • Private college tuition

So is child support just about the 25% for 2 kids? Now you know the rest of the story.

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: