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Family Court Act 413

FCA 413: Parents' duty to support child



Note: Family Court Act 413 is identical to Domestic Relations Law 240 1-b



Family Court Act 413

Parents' duty to support child.

1. (a) Except as provided in subdivision two of this section, the parents of a child under the age of twenty-one years are chargeable with the support of such child and, if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, shall be required to pay for child support a fair and reasonable sum as the court may determine. 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 indirecly 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 eighty thousand dollars 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 prorate each parent`s share of future reasonable health care expenses of the child not covered by insurance in the same proportion as each parent`s income is to the combined parental income. The non-custodial parent`s pro rata share of such health care expenses shall be paid in a manner determined by the court, including direct payment to the health care provider. (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 or the difference between the non-custodial parent`s income and the self-support reserve, whichever is greater. 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.


(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, including but not limited to section four hundred fifteen of this act, 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. In no instance shall the court order child support below twenty-five dollars per month. 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 social services 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. In no instance shall the court approve any voluntary support agreement or compromise that includes an amount for child support less than twenty-five dollars per month.


(j) In addition to financial disclosure required in section four hundred twenty-four-a 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 paragraphs (a) through (k) of this subdivision shall not constitute grounds for 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.


2. Nothing in this article shall impose any liability upon a person to support the adopted child of his or her spouse, if such child was adopted after the adopting spouse is living separate and apart from the non-adopting spouse pursuant to a legally recognizable separation agreement or decree under the domestic relations law. Such liability shall not be imposed for so long as the spouses remain separate and apart after the adoption.


3. a. One-time adjustment of child support orders issued prior to September fifteenth, nineteen hundred eighty-nine. Any party to a child support order issued prior to September fifteenth, nineteen hundred eighty-nine on the behalf of a child in receipt of public assistance or child support services pursuant to section one hundred eleven-g of the social services law may request that the support collection unit undertake one review of the order for adjustment purposes pursuant to section one hundred eleven-h of the social services law. A hearing on the adjustment of such order shall be granted upon the objection of either party pursuant to the provisions of this section. An order shall be adjusted if as of the date of the support collection unit`s review of the correct amount of child support as calculated pursuant to the provisions of this section would deviate by at least ten percent from the child support ordered in the last permanent support order of the court. Additionally, a new support order shall be issued upon a showing that the current order of support does not provide for the health care needs of the child through insurance or otherwise. Eligibility of the child for medical assistance shall not relieve any obligation the parties otherwise have to provide for the health care needs of the child. The support collection unit`s review of a child support order shall be made on notice to all parties to the current support order and shall be subject to the provisions of section four hundred twenty-four-a of this article. Nothing herein shall be deemed in any way to limit, restrict, expand or impair the rights of any party to file for a modification of a child support order as is otherwise provided by law.


b. Upon receipt of an adjustment finding and where appropriate a proposed order in conformity with such finding filed by either party or by the support collection unit, a party shall have thirty-five days from the date of mailing of the adjustment finding and proposed adjusted order, if any, to submit to the court identified thereon specific written objections to such finding and proposed order. (1) If specific written objections are submitted by either party or by the support collection unit, a hearing shall be scheduled by the court on notice to the parties and the support collection unit, who shall have the right to be heard by the court and to offer evidence in support of or in opposition to adjustment of the support order. (2) The party filing the specific written objections shall bear the burden of going forward and the burden of proof; provided, however, that if the support collection unit has failed to provide the documentation and information required by subdivision fourteen of section one hundred eleven-h of the social services law, the court shall first require the support collection unit to furnish such documents and information to the parties and the court. (3) If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the specific written objections have been proven, the court shall recalculate or readjust the proposed adjusted order accordingly or, for good cause, shall remand the order to the support collection unit for submission of a new proposed adjusted order. Any readjusted order so issued by the court or resubmitted by the support collection unit following remand by the court shall be effective as of the date the proposed adjusted order would have been effective had no written objections been filed. (4) If the court finds that the specific written objections have not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall immediately issue the adjusted order, which shall be effective as of the date the order would have been effective had no written objections been filed. (5) If the determination of the specific written objections has been made by a family court hearing examiner, the parties shall be permitted to obtain judicial review of such determination by filing timely written objections pursuant to subdivision (e) of section four hundred thirty-nine of this act. (6) If the court receives no specific written objections to the support order within thirty-five days of the mailing of the proposed order, the clerk of the court shall immediately issue the order without any further review, modification, or other prior action by the court or any judge or hearing examiner thereof, and the clerk shall immediately transmit copies of the order of support to the parties and to the support collection unit.


c. A motion to vacate an order of support adjusted pursuant to this section may be made no later than forty-five days after an adjusted support order is executed by the court where no specific written objections to the proposed order have been timely received by the court. Such motion shall be granted only upon a determination by the court issuing such order that personal jurisdiction was not timely obtained over the moving party.


4. On-going cost of living adjustment of child support orders issued prior to September fifteenth, nineteen hundred eighty-nine. Any party to a child support order issued prior to September fifteenth, nineteen hundred eighty-nine on the behalf of a child in receipt of public assistance or child support services pursuant to section one hundred eleven-g of the social services law may request that the support collection unit review the order for a cost of living adjustment in accordance with the provisions of section four hundred thirteen-a of this article.




This section of the Family Court Act is provided as part of a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law for reference only. Statutes and codes such as FCA 413 are frequently amended, and no representation is made that the above version of FCA 413 is current. Updated statutes and codes may be available at the New York State Legislature Website. No statute should be relied on without understanding controlling case law which may further interpret it. An attorney should be consulted for legal advice.


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mr. Barics at lawyer@jdbar.com or (631) 864-2600. For more articles and information, please visit www.jdbar.com.


J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial lawyer in Long Island, New York



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