In a New York divorce or child support case, the parties’ incomes are entered into a formula by the Court to determine the presumptively correct child support and maintenance obligations. For higher earners, the income amounts are capped at a fixed sum, which is increased every two years in relation to the Consumer Price Index.
Effective March 1, 2022, the income cap for child support calculations will be $163,000 (up from $154,000) and the income cap for maintenance will be $203,000 (up from $192,000).
Child support is calculated using the formula in the Child Support Standards Act [DRL §240, FCA §413]. The formula multiplies the parties’ combined parental income (up to $163,000) by a certain percentage depending on the number of children – 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children, 35% for five or more children. Where there is combined parental income above the cap, 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, if any.
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 $203,000, the amount of additional support payable on the excess income, if any, is within the judge’s discretion. The Court will 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.
Parties can use this online maintenance and child support calculator to estimate the amount of maintenance or child support that will be ordered by the Court.