The percentages the court usually uses for child support orders are from the Child Support Standards Act
(CSSA). The CSSA is a law that sets the guidelines used by support magistrates to make child support orders. Parents are usually ordered to pay a percentage of their adjusted gross income
based on how many children are included in the support order. Gross income
is the amount of money you earn before taxes are taken out. Adjusted gross income is your gross income minus some special expenses, like previous child support orders. Once the court determines the total income of the two parents together, it uses the formula below to decide the amount needed to support the child. Variance from the percentages
means different from these percentages. For more information, please see LIFT’s guide “Child Support
” or call our Hotline at (212) 343-1122.
The percentages from the Child Support Standards Act are:
1 child - 17% of your adjusted gross income
2 children - 25% of your adjusted gross income
3 children - 29% of your adjusted gross income
4 children - 31% of your adjusted gross income
5 children - 35% of your adjusted gross income
The court can ignore this formula in special situations. For example, if a child has special needs and high expenses because of those needs, the child support order may be higher than the usual percentage. On the other hand, if the respondent has educational needs that are costly and keep him or her from working, the court order might be lower than the usual percentage. For these reasons, or one of many others, the court may make a child support order that is different from the percentages that they usually use.