Effective March 1, 2020, the income cap for child support calculations is $154,000 (previously $148,000), and the cap for maintenance calculations is $192,000 (previously $184,000).
In New York, the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent is determined using a formula set forth in the statute known as the Child Support Standards Act [DRL §240, FCA §413]. The formula multiplies the parties’ parental income by a certain percentage depending on the number of children, up to a certain level of income (the “cap”). Where the parental income of both parties combined exceeds the amount of the cap set forth in the law, the amount of child support payable on the excess income is left to the discretion of the Court, which may either apply the percentage or consider numerous other factors to determine the additional amount to be paid, such as the financial resources of the parties and child, the physical and emotional health of the child and special needs or aptitudes, the non-monetary contributions that the parents will make towards the care and well-being of the child, and other factors. For cases with combined parental income below the income cap, an approximation of child support that would be ordered can be figured using the Child Support Standards Chart.
For maintenance or spousal support, the Court similarly determines the amount to be paid using a formula set forth in the statute [DRL §236B, FCA §412], however the income cap referenced in the maintenance law applies only to the payor spouse (the spouse with higher income), rather than the parties’ combined income. Where the payor spouse’s income exceeds the cap, the amount of additional support payable on the excess income, if any, is within the discretion of the judge, who must consider numerous factors such as the age and health of the parties, their present and future earning capacity, the wasteful dissipation of marital property, tax consequences, the standard of living established during the marriage, and others factors.
The income caps for both maintenance and child support calculations are increased every two years in relation to the Consumer Price Index.