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A court may deviate from the New York child support guidelines

The laws of New York provide courts with a set of guidelines that dictate how much money a child should receive from his or her noncustodial parent. The guidelines consider generally how much it costs to raise a child and include computations that are based upon the paying parent's income. For example, under the guidelines, a New York parent will pay 17 percent of his or her income to a single child; that percentage goes up to 25 percent for two children.

However, the needs of different children will vary, and in some cases, that amount of support set forth in the guidelines is insufficient to meet a child's needs. Health problems, special educational needs and other factors may require a court to go beyond the statutory guidelines and augment the support amount to serve a child's best interests.

Outside of a child's direct emotional, physical and educational needs that may be sustained through financial support, a court may also reduce or increase a child support sum based on other factors. In some cases the child's custodial parent may earn a significant income or more than the noncustodial parent; in these scenarios a noncustodial parent's support obligation may be modified from that provided in the guidelines.

Additionally, if a child has lived at a certain standard during his or her time with his or her parents and the guidelines will not provide the child with sufficient support to maintain that lifestyle, a court may choose to increase the child's support award. These are only a few of the factors that may compel a court to deviate from the New York child support guidelines, and readers with specific questions about this topic are encouraged to bring them up with their divorce or family law attorneys.

The state's child support guidelines provide a good starting place for courts that believe the best interests of children are served through support orders. As every child support case is different, readers are reminded that this post does not provide legal advice. Different cases may result in different outcomes that either follow the outline of the guidelines or deviate from them to accommodate the needs of a child.

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