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Domestic Relations Law § 240 1-b

CHILD SUPPORT


DRL § 240 1-b

(a) The court shall make its award for child support pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision.  The court may vary from the amount of the basic child support obligation determined pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subdivision only in accordance with paragraph (f) of this subdivision.

(b) For purposes of this subdivision, the following definitions shall be used:

(1) “Basic child support obligation” shall mean the sum derived by adding the amounts determined by the application of subparagraphs two and three of paragraph (c) of this subdivision except as increased pursuant to subparagraphs four, five, six and seven of such paragraph.

(2) “Child support” shall mean a sum to be paid pursuant to court order or decree by either or both parents or pursuant to a valid agreement between the parties for care, maintenance and education of any unemancipated child under the age of twenty-one years.

(3) “Child support percentage” shall mean:

(i) seventeen percent of the combined parental income for one child;

(ii) twenty-five percent of the combined parental income for two children;

(iii) twenty-nine percent of the combined parental income for three children;

(iv) thirty-one percent of the combined parental income for four children;  and

(v) no less than thirty-five percent of the combined parental income for five or more children

(4) “Combined parental income” shall mean the sum of the income of both parents.

 

(5) “Income” shall mean, but shall not be limited to, the sum of the amounts determined by the application of clauses (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi) of this subparagraph reduced by the amount determined by the application of clause (vii) of this subparagraph:

(i) gross (total) income as should have been or should be reported in the most recent federal income tax return.  If an individual files his/her federal income tax return as a married person filing jointly, such person shall be required to prepare a form, sworn to under penalty of law, disclosing his/her gross income individually;

(ii) to the extent not already included in gross income in clause (i) of this subparagraph, investment income reduced by sums expended in connection with such investment;

(iii) to the extent not already included in gross income in clauses (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph, the amount of income or compensation voluntarily deferred and income received, if any, from the following sources:

(A) workers’ compensation,

(B) disability benefits,

(C) unemployment insurance benefits,

(D) social security benefits,

(E) veterans benefits,

(F) pensions and retirement benefits,

(G) fellowships and stipends, and

(H) annuity payments;

(iv) at the discretion of the court, the court may attribute or impute income from, such other resources as may be available to the parent, including, but not limited to:

(A) non-income producing assets,

(B) meals, lodging, memberships, automobiles or other perquisites that are provided as part of compensation for employment to the extent that such perquisites constitute expenditures for personal use, or which expenditures directly or indirectly confer personal economic benefits,

(C) fringe benefits provided as part of compensation for employment, and

(D) money, goods, or services provided by relatives and friends;

(v) an amount imputed as income based upon the parent’s former resources or income, if the court determines that a parent has reduced resources or income in order to reduce or avoid the parent’s obligation for child support;

(vi) to the extent not already included in gross income in clauses (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph, the following self-employment deductions attributable to self-employment carried on by the taxpayer:

(A) any depreciation deduction greater than depreciation calculated on a straight-line basis for the purpose of determining business income or investment credits, and

(B) entertainment and travel allowances deducted from business income to the extent said allowances reduce personal expenditures;

(vii) the following shall be deducted from income prior to applying the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision:

(A) unreimbursed employee business expenses except to the extent said expenses reduce personal expenditures,

(B) alimony or maintenance actually paid to a spouse not a party to the instant action pursuant to court order or validly executed written agreement,

(C) alimony or maintenance actually paid or to be paid to a spouse that is a party to the instant action pursuant to an existing court order or contained in the order to be entered by the court, or pursuant to a validly executed written agreement, provided the order or agreement provides for a specific adjustment, in accordance with this subdivision, in the amount of child support payable upon the termination of alimony or maintenance to such spouse,

(D) child support actually paid pursuant to court order or written agreement on behalf of any child for whom the parent has a legal duty of support and who is not subject to the instant action,

(E) public assistance,

(F) supplemental security income,

(G) New York city or Yonkers income or earnings taxes actually paid, and

(H) federal insurance contributions act (FICA) taxes actually paid.

(6) “Self-support reserve” shall mean one hundred thirty-five percent of the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services.  For the calendar year nineteen hundred eighty-nine, the self-support reserve shall be eight thousand sixty-five dollars.  On March first of each year, the self-support reserve shall be revised to reflect the annual updating of the poverty income guidelines as reported by the federal department of health and human services for a single person household.

(c) The amount of the basic child support obligation shall be determined in accordance with the provision of this paragraph:

(1) The court shall determine the combined parental income.

(2) The court shall multiply the combined parental income up to the amount set forth in paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section one hundred eleven-i of the social services law by the appropriate child support percentage and such amount shall be prorated in the same proportion as each parent’s income is to the combined parental income.

(3) Where the combined parental income exceeds the dollar amount set forth in subparagraph two of this paragraph, the court shall determine the amount of child support for the amount of the combined parental income in excess of such dollar amount through consideration of the factors set forth in paragraph (f) of this subdivision and/or the child support percentage.

(4) Where the custodial parent is working, or receiving elementary or secondary education, or higher education or vocational training which the court determines will lead to employment, and incurs child care expenses as a result thereof, the court shall determine reasonable child care expenses and such child care expenses, where incurred, shall be prorated in the same proportion as each parent’s income is to the combined parental income.  Each parent’s pro rata share of the child care expenses shall be separately stated and added to the sum of subparagraphs two and three of this paragraph.

(5) the court shall determine the parties’ obligation to provide health insurance benefits pursuant to this section and to pay cash medical support as provided under this subparagraph.

(i) “Cash medical support” means an amount ordered to be paid toward the cost of health insurance provided by a public entity or by a parent through an employer or organization, including such employers or organizations which are self insured, or through other available health insurance or health care coverage plans, and/or for other health care expenses not covered by insurance.

(ii) Where health insurance benefits pursuant to subparagraph one and clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph two of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section are determined by the court to be available, the cost of providing health insurance benefits shall be prorated between the parties in the same proportion as each parent’s income is to the combined parental income.  If the custodial parent is ordered to provide such benefits, the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of such costs shall be added to the basic support obligation.  If the non-custodial parent is ordered to provide such benefits, the custodial parent’s pro rata share of such costs shall be deducted from the basic support obligation.

(iii) Where health insurance benefits pursuant to subparagraph one and clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph two of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section are determined by the court to be unavailable, if the child or children are determined eligible for coverage under the medical assistance program established pursuant to title eleven of article five of the social services law, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay cash medical support as follows:

(A) In the case of a child or children authorized for managed care coverage under the medical assistance program, the lesser of the amount that would be required as a family contribution under the state’s child health insurance plan pursuant to title one-A of article twenty-five of the public health law for the child or children if they were in a two-parent household with income equal to the combined income of the non-custodial and custodial parents or the premium paid by the medical assistance program on behalf of the child or children to the managed care plan.  The court shall separately state the non-custodial parent’s monthly obligation.  The non-custodial parent’s cash medical support obligation under this clause shall not exceed five percent of his or her gross income, or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is less.

(B) In the case of a child or children authorized for fee-for-service coverage under the medical assistance program other than a child or children described in item (A) of this clause, the court shall determine the non-custodial parent’s maximum annual cash medical support obligation, which shall be equal to the lesser of the monthly amount that would be required as a family contribution under the state’s child health insurance plan pursuant to title one-A of article twenty-five of the public health law for the child or children if they were in a two-parent household with income equal to the combined income of the non-custodial and custodial parents times twelve months or the number of months that the child or children are authorized for fee-for-service coverage during any year.  The court shall separately state in the order the non-custodial parent’s maximum annual cash medical support obligation and, upon proof to the court that the non-custodial parent, after notice of the amount due, has failed to pay the public entity for incurred health care expenses, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay such incurred health care expenses up to the maximum annual cash medical support obligation.  Such amounts shall be support arrears/past due support and shall be subject to any remedies as provided by law for the enforcement of support arrears/past due support.  The total annual amount that the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay under this clause shall not exceed five percent of his or her gross income or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is less.

(C) The court shall order cash medical support to be paid by the non-custodial parent for health care expenses of the child or children paid by the medical assistance program prior to the issuance of the court’s order.  The amount of such support shall be calculated as provided under item (A) or (B) of this clause, provided that the amount that the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay under this item shall not exceed five percent of his or her gross income or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is less, for the year when the expense was incurred.  Such amounts shall be support arrears/past due support and shall be subject to any remedies as provided by law for the enforcement of support arrears/past due support.

(iv) Where health insurance benefits pursuant to subparagraph one and clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph two of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section are determined by the court to be unavailable, and the child or children are determined eligible for coverage under the state’s child health insurance plan pursuant to title one-A of article twenty-five of the public health law, the court shall prorate each parent’s share of the cost of the family contribution required under such child health insurance plan in the same proportion as each parent’s income is to the combined parental income, and state the amount of the non-custodial parent’s share in the order.  The total amount of cash medical support that the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay under this clause shall not exceed five percent of his or her gross income, or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is less.

(v) In addition to the amounts ordered under clause (ii), (iii), or (iv), the court shall pro rate each parent’s share of reasonable health care expenses not reimbursed or paid by insurance, the medical assistance program established pursuant to title eleven of article five of the social services law, or the state’s child health insurance plan pursuant to title one-A of article twenty-five of the public health law, in the same proportion as each parent’s income is to the combined parental income, and state the non-custodial parent’s share as a percentage in the order.  The non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of such health care expenses determined by the court to be due and owing shall be support arrears/past due support and shall be subject to any remedies provided by law for the enforcement of support arrears/past due support.  In addition, the court may direct that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of such health care expenses be paid in one sum or in periodic sums, including direct payment to the health care provider.

(vi) Upon proof by either party that cash medical support pursuant to clause (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of this subparagraph would be unjust or inappropriate pursuant to paragraph (f) of this subdivision, the court shall:

(A) order the parties to pay cash medical support as the court finds just and appropriate, considering the best interests of the child;  and

(B) set forth in the order the factors it considered, the amount calculated under this subparagraph, the reason or reasons the court did not order such amount, and the basis for the amount awarded.

(6) Where the court determines that the custodial parent is seeking work and incurs child care expenses as a result thereof, the court may determine reasonable child care expenses and may apportion the same between the custodial and non-custodial parent.  The non-custodial parent’s share of such expenses shall be separately stated and paid in a manner determined by the court.

(7) Where the court determines, having regard for the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and in the best interests of the child, and as justice requires, that the present or future provision of post-secondary, private, special, or enriched education for the child is appropriate, the court may award educational expenses.  The non-custodial parent shall pay educational expenses, as awarded, in a manner determined by the court, including direct payment to the educational provider.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision, where the annual amount of the basic child support obligation would reduce the non-custodial parent’s income below the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services, the basic child support obligation shall be twenty-five dollars per month, provided, however, that if the court finds that such basic child support obligation is unjust or inappropriate, which finding shall be based upon considerations of the factors set forth in paragraph (f) of this subdivision, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay such amount of the child support as the court finds just and appropriate.  Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision, where the annual amount of the basic child support obligation would reduce the non-custodial parent’s income below the self-support reserve but not below the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services, the basic child support obligation shall be fifty dollars per month or the difference between the non-custodial parent’s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is greater, in addition to any amounts that the court may, in its discretion, order in accordance with subparagraphs four, five, six and/or seven of paragraph (c) of this subdivision.

(e) Where a parent is or may be entitled to receive non-recurring payments from extraordinary sources not otherwise considered as income pursuant to this section, including but not limited to:

(1) Life insurance policies;

(2) Discharges of indebtedness;

(3) Recovery of bad debts and delinquency amounts;

(4) Gifts and inheritances;  and

(5) Lottery winnings,

the court, in accordance with paragraphs (c), (d) and (f) of this subdivision may allocate a proportion of the same to child support, and such amount shall be paid in a manner determined by the court.

(f) The court shall calculate the basic child support obligation, and the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the basic child support obligation.  Unless the court finds that the non-custodial parents’s  pro-rata share of the basic child support obligation is unjust or inappropriate, which finding shall be based upon consideration of the following factors:

(1) The financial resources of the custodial and non-custodial parent, and those of the child;

(2) The physical and emotional health of the child and his/her special needs and aptitudes;

(3) The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or household not been dissolved;

(4) The tax consequences to the parties;

(5) The non-monetary contributions that the parents will make toward the care and well-being of the child;

(6) The educational needs of either parent;

(7) A determination that the gross income of one parent is substantially less than the other parent’s gross income;

(8) The needs of the children of the non-custodial parent for whom the non-custodial parent is providing support who are not subject to the instant action and whose support has not been deducted from income pursuant to subclause (D) of clause (vii) of subparagraph five of paragraph (b) of this subdivision, and the financial resources of any person obligated to support such children, provided, however, that this factor may apply only if the resources available to support such children are less than the resources available to support the children who are subject to the instant action;

(9) Provided that the child is not on public assistance (i) extraordinary expenses incurred by the non-custodial parent in exercising visitation, or (ii) expenses incurred by the non-custodial parent in extended visitation provided that the custodial parent’s expenses are substantially reduced as a result thereof;  and

(10) Any other factors the court determines are relevant in each case, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay his or her pro rata share of the basic child support obligation, and may order the non-custodial parent to pay an amount pursuant to paragraph (e) of this subdivision.

(g) Where the court finds that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of the basic child support obligation is unjust or inappropriate, the court shall order the non-custodial parent to pay such amount of child support as the court finds just and appropriate, and the court shall set forth, in a written order, the factors it considered;  the amount of each party’s pro rata share of the basic child support obligation;  and the reasons that the court did not order the basic child support obligation.  Such written order may not be waived by either party or counsel;  provided, however, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not find that the non-custodial parent’s pro rata share of such obligation is unjust or inappropriate on the basis that such share exceeds the portion of a public assistance grant which is attributable to a child or children.  Where the non-custodial parent’s income is less than or equal to the poverty income guidelines amount for a single person as reported by the federal department of health and human services, unpaid child support arrears in excess of five hundred dollars shall not accrue.

(h) A validly executed agreement or stipulation voluntarily entered into between the parties after the effective date of this subdivision presented to the court for incorporation in an order or judgment shall include a provision stating that the parties have been advised of the provisions of this subdivision, and that the basic child support obligation provided for therein would presumptively result in the correct amount of child support to be awarded.  In the event that such agreement or stipulation deviates from the basic child support obligation, the agreement or stipulation must specify the amount that such basic child support obligation would have been and the reason or reasons that such agreement or stipulation does not provide for payment of that amount.  Such provision may not be waived by either party or counsel.  Nothing contained in this subdivision shall be construed to alter the rights of the parties to voluntarily enter into validly executed agreements or stipulations which deviate from the basic child support obligation provided such agreements or stipulations comply with the provisions of this paragraph.  The court shall, however, retain discretion with respect to child support pursuant to this section.  Any court order or judgment incorporating a validly executed agreement or stipulation which deviates from the basic child support obligation shall set forth the court’s reasons for such deviation.

(i) Where either or both parties are unrepresented, the court shall not enter an order or judgment other than a temporary order pursuant to section two hundred thirty-seven of this article, that includes a provision for child support unless the unrepresented party or parties have received a copy of the child support standards chart promulgated by the commissioner of the office of temporary and disability assistance pursuant to subdivision two of section one hundred eleven-i of the social services law.  Where either party is in receipt of child support enforcement services through the local social services district, the local social services district child support enforcement unit shall advise such party of the amount derived from application of the child support percentage and that such amount serves as a starting point for the determination of the child support award, and shall provide such party with a copy of the child support standards chart.  

(j) In addition to financial disclosure required in section two hundred thirty-six of this article, the court may require that the income and/or expenses of either party be verified with documentation including, but not limited to, past and present income tax returns, employer statements, pay stubs, corporate, business, or partnership books and records, corporate and business tax returns, and receipts for expenses or such other means of verification as the court determines appropriate.  Nothing herein shall affect any party’s right to pursue discovery pursuant to this chapter, the civil practice law and rules, or the family court act.

(k) When a party has defaulted and/or the court is otherwise presented with insufficient evidence to determine gross income, the court shall order child support based upon the needs or standard of living of the child, whichever is greater.  Such order may be retroactively modified upward, without a showing of change in circumstances.

(l) In any action or proceeding for modification of an order of child support existing prior to the effective date of this paragraph, brought pursuant to this article, the child support standards set forth in this subdivision shall not constitute a change of circumstances warranting modification of such support order;  provided, however, that (1) where the circumstances warrant modification of such order, or (2) where any party objects to an adjusted child support order made or proposed at the direction of the support collection unit pursuant to section one hundred eleven-h or one hundred eleven-n of the social services law, and the court is reviewing the current order of child support, such standards shall be applied by the court in its determination with regard to the request for modification, or disposition of an objection to an adjusted child support order made or proposed by a support collection unit.  In applying such standards, when the order to be modified incorporates by reference or merges with a validly executed separation agreement or stipulation of settlement, the court may consider, in addition to the factors set forth in paragraph (f) of this subdivision, the provisions of such agreement or stipulation concerning property distribution, distributive award and/or maintenance in determining whether the amount calculated by using the standards would be unjust or inappropriate.