Laws about basic child support and relief for low-income earners

Having enough money to provide for one's children and oneself is a major cause of stress for a parent. Numerous parents count on child support in order to afford basic necessities. Every state has specific calculations which are used to determine the amounts of support orders. However, at least in New York, a different set of rules concerns child support payments for low-income earners.

To figure out basic child support payments, two things are generally needed -- income information and the number of children being supported. Non-custodial parents who make $141,000 a year or less, are usually required to follow certain percentages of income guidelines. These percentages increase based upon how many children are being included in the support order. The guidelines range from 17 percent of income for one child, up to 35 percent of income for orders supporting five or more children.

For those making more than $141,000 per year, or whose children have unique needs, the Court will determine the monthly payment amount. Those who are considered low-income earners are also not required to follow the percentage guidelines. Their guidelines are as follows:

  • Non-custodial parents who earn less than the current Federal Poverty Level will typically pay $25 per month, with a cap of $500 on back payments.
  • Those whose income is less than the current State Self-Support reserve may be ordered to pay $50 per month.

While supporting one's children is top priority, there are times when a person's income just does not allow for much. This may be the case when a child support order is initially arranged, or it may become a problem due to a change of circumstances after the fact. Parents in New York can seek help in pursuing a support order that is not only good for their children, but for their current financial states as well.

Source:, "Child Support Calculator", Accessed on June 15, 2015

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