Child support is a sum of money paid by either or both parents for the care, maintenance and education of any un-emancipated child under the age of twenty-one (21). Parents may enter into child support agreements, so long as they are in writing and comply with the requirements stated in Domestic Relations Law §240(1-b)(h); otherwise, the Court will award child support by order or decree. The Court has limited discretion in awarding child support, and must follow the provisions of the Child Support Standards Act (embodied in Domestic Relations Law §240).
There are three (3) components to child support:
- a regular periodic payment or ‘basic support’;
- the contribution towards ‘add-on’ expenses, which are additional items not encompassed in the regular, basic child support payment (pro-rata contributions to expenses including health care, childcare or preschool); and
- a contribution towards the expense of the child’s health plan insurance coverage.
A parent may also seek a determination with respect to college expenses. The Court shall only decide that issue when the child is actually enrolled, or in the year immediately prior to enrollment. However, parents may at any time, enter into a written agreement concerning college expenses.