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 parent'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.
Under the CSSA, the amount of child support owed to the custodial parent is determined by multiplying the non custodial parent's income by a set percentage determined by the number of children for whom support is warranted. Where there is one child the applicable percentage is 17%; two children residing in the same household with the same custodial parent, the applicable percentage of each party's income under the CSSA is 25%; three children, 29%; four children is 31% and five or more children no less than 35%. DRL § 240(1-b)(b)(3)(ii).
"Income" is defined as "gross income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return". DRL § 240(1-b)(b)(5)(i). Under the CSSA, there are required deductions from gross income for Social Security and New York City and Yonkers income taxes.
In 2021, the basic child support amount is calculated on the first $154,000 of combined parental income (which is adjusted periodically). The Court must also calculate what the child support amount and pro rata share would be on the combined parental income over $154,000.00. And the Court may, in its discretion, and after consideration of the factors set forth above in the statute and the circumstances before it, may award a higher amount of child support based on the amount of income earned over $154,000.
The Court is also empowered to make adjustments to the amount of child support under the statute and may consider such factors as the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren) and the additional support which they provide to the children. The Court has discretion to determine if the basic award is unjust or inappropriate but must follow the protocols set forth in the statute.