Child support in New York is governed by the Child Support Standards Act or CSSA. The Child Support Standards Act provides a formula by which a percentage dependent upon the number of children is applied to the parties’ combined adjusted income (income from all sources less FICA) to come up with a total basic support amount. That amount is then attributed to each party in accordance with that party’s percentage of income or “pro rata share”. Click here to view and download a copy of the Child Support Standards Act chart. Add-ons such as unreimbursed medical expenses, child care, educational and extracurricular activities are also divided up pro rata between the parties.
The recent change in the law governing spousal support or “maintenance” as it is called in a divorce action, is a hot legal topic. Conflicting decisions in the courts have created an uncertainty in the court system that can frustrate litigants and their attorneys. The legislature enacted a temporary maintenance statute (maintenance paid by one party during the divorce litigation) which is formulaic in nature much like the child support standards act.
Permanent maintenance is governed by the following statutory factors in New York:[Domestic Relations Law Section 236(B)(6)]
(1) the income and property of the respective parties including marital property distributed pursuant to subdivision five of this part;
(2) the length of the marriage;
(3) the age and health of both parties;
(4) the present and future earning capacity of both parties;
(5) the need of one party to incur education or training expenses;
(6) the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household;
(7) acts by one party against another that have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party’s earning capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment. Such acts include but are not limited to acts of domestic violence as provided in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law;
(8) the ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training necessary therefore;
(9) reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage;
(10) the presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties;
(11) the care of the children or stepchildren, disabled adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws that has inhibited or continues to inhibit a party’s earning capacity;
(12) the inability of one party to obtain meaningful employment due to age or absence from the workforce;
(13) the need to pay for exceptional additional expenses for the child/children, including but not limited to, schooling, day care and medical treatment;
(14) the tax consequences to each party;
(15) the equitable distribution of marital property;
(16) contributions and services of the party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party;
(17) the wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse;
(18) the transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
(19) the loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage, and the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties; and
(20) any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.