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In addition to basic child support payments, parents in New York are also required to pay statutorily defined expenses, which are commonly referred to as “add-on expenses.”
- Health Insurance: Parents are legally obligated to pay for medical insurance premiums for children. Each parent is obligated to pay a portion of the premium equal to his or her pro rata portion of the combined parental income. Hence, if a father earns 75% of the parties’ combined income, then he would be responsible to pay 75% of the health insurance premiums for the children; and the mother would responsible for 25% of the premiums. Under the CSSA statute, health insurance premiums are either added or subtracted from the basic child support payment—depending on who is responsible for paying support and who is paying for health insurance premiums. For example, if the father is the payor of child support—and the mother obtained medical insurance through her employer—the father’s pro rata portion of the premiums should be added to his basic child support payment. On the other hand, if the father is payor of child support—and he obtained medical insurance for the children—than the mother’s pro rata portion should be subtracted from her basic child support payments.
- Unreimbursed Medical Expenses: Like medical insurance, reasonable unreimbursed medical, dental and vision expenses are allocated between the parents in accordance with his or her pro rata portion of the combined parental income. But, unlike insurance premiums, unreimbursed expenses are paid directly to the provider. To the extent that one parent pays the entire expense to a provider, the other parent is obligated to reimburse the parent that fronted the money for the expense.
- Reasonable Childcare: A court will allocate between the parents the cost of reasonable childcare in accordance with their pro rata incomes—but only to the extent that the childcare is necessary for the custodial parent to work or engage in activities designed to obtain work (including educational classes). If the custodial parent is neither working nor in school, childcare expenses are generally not reimbursable.
- Educational and Extracurricular Activities: The court has discretion to order parents pay for the cost of children’s educational and extracurricular expenses. The court, however, is not statutorily obligated to do so. In fact, a court should order educational expenses only after a careful consideration of what is in the best interests of the children, the academic needs of the children, the children's current extracurricular activities, the parents’ financial circumstances, and the parents' educational background. Nor is a court required to allocate educational and extracurricular activities in the same proportion as the parties’ pro rata income.