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NY Child Support Calculator for 50/50 Joint and Split Custody

Many parents believe that if they have equal joint custody of a child, they will not be obligated to pay child support.  However, in New York, this is not how support obligations are calculated.

Generally, the parent earning the least amount will be considered the “custodial parent,” entitling them to child support payments from the higher-earning parent.  New York uses an income-based formula to calculate support payments.  But, under the current law, a court (in its discretion) can lessen child support obligations based on the individual circumstances involved.

At Friedlander and Mosher, we have more than 50 years of experience representing clients. As part of our divorce and custody practice, we represent parents in child support matters, which includes advising clients about the manner in which child support is calculated in New York, as well as advocating on their behalf with respect to the child support obligations affecting them.

If you need assistance in calculating child support obligations or in seeking child support or modifying child support, we invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation.  We can discuss your custody arrangement, evaluate employment and earning statements, and assist in calculating potential child support requirements.  Further, if you are already covering substantial child support costs in addition to court-ordered costs, we can tenaciously advocate in court in seeking to have your child support payments reduced.  Alternatively, if your ex is paying for very little but claiming to cover significant expenses, we can vigorously fight for the maximum child support possible.

Call Friedlandler & Mosher to Schedule a Case Evaluation!  

When do Child Support Modifications Become Effective?

In New York, approved child support modifications generally become effective beginning on the date of the filing.  Thus if you believe that child support should be modified because of a job loss that occurred on June 1, but a filing is not made until September 1, and the filing is approved on October 1, the modified support will typically only begin as of September 1 (when the filling was made), not June 1.  Therefore, if you wish to have support obligations modified, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can prepare a filing on your behalf.

How is Child Support Calculated in New York?

In 1989 the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) was enacted, setting a three-step process for calculating child support (referred to as the Child Support Calculator).  The CSSA was developed to ensure that child support awards in New York State were consistent and fair.   Essentially, the CSSA objective is to provide children with the same standard of living they would have if their parents were together.

While the CSSA provides an adequate framework for support calculations in many cases, it often results in obligations that are grossly unfair in others.  Often, noncustodial parents are already covering a substantial portion of a child’s expenses while the other parent is paying very little.  In situations such as these, a judge can, in his or her discretion, lessen the child support obligations to make the situation just and fair.

As experienced Ithaca child support attorneys, we can evaluate the facts of your situation and provide advice on the potential options for lessening your support obligation if you are already paying a substantial amount of money for your child’s expenses.

How Does the New York Child Support Calculator Work?

The CSSA sets basic support awards at a fixed percentage of parental income, depending on the number of children for whom a child support order is being requested.  The percentages are assessed on almost all earnings up to $148,000, minus Medicare, FICA, and tax deductions.[1]  For incomes exceeding this threshold, the court can choose whether to assess the typical percentages.

The following are the three steps involved in calculating child support obligations:

  1. Calculate each parent’s contribution to household income
  1. Apply the correct income-based percentage:
        • One Child 17%
        • Two Children 25%
        • Three Children 29%
        • Four Children 31%
        • Five or More Children 35%
  1. Calculate each parent’s (pro-rata) share of the child support to determine who has the higher obligation

The noncustodial parent must pay the applicable child support unless a court determines the amount is unjust or inappropriate based on the specific situation.

If Me and My Ex Share Custody, Who Is the Custodial Parent?

Under New York case law, the parent earning the most income is deemed to be the noncustodial parent for purposes of calculating support, regardless of whether the parties have 50/50 shared custody.[2]  Consequently, this non-custodial parent is required to pay their pro-rata share of the child support obligation unless it can be shown that paying the full amount would be unjust or improper.

If the noncustodial parent can demonstrate that expenses incurred in having equal time substantially reduce the costs the other parent must bear, then a court can set a lower payment.  In making this determination, courts will evaluate documentation of specific expenses of the custodial parent and the degree to which the expenses have been offset by the noncustodial parent.[3]

Can I Ask A Court to Lower My Child Support Payments?

In many cases, New York judges will adhere to the standard Child Support Calculator; however, a parent can petition the court for lower child support payments in situations where the parent is already separately paying substantial costs for the child’s welfare.

If you are the higher-wage earner, it is critical to be prepared to demonstrate to a judge how the associated costs incurred when spending time with your child should reduce your support obligations.  Evidence can pertain to expenses such as food, telephone payments, transportation, entertainment, electricity, clothing, etc.

At Friedlander and Mosher, we have an in-depth understanding of the child support process and know what is typically required to convince a judge to lessen the standard child support obligations.

Call Us Today to Learn How We Can Help You!

As experienced child support attorneys, we are dedicated to helping parents efficiently and effectively resolve legal issues to the extent possible.  If you have questions or need assistance in a child support case, we urge you to call us and schedule an appointment today.  Whether you need to establish or modify child support, we are here to help in any circumstance.

Related Pages


[1] Child Support Calculator, NYC, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/child-support-calculator.page.

[2] Baraby v. Baraby, 250 A.D.2d 2201.

[3] Carlino v. Carlino, 277 A.D.2d  897.

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