Child support can either be very simple or very complex to resolve, depending on the financial circumstances and other factors. After a child support order is issued, the courts can impose child support modifications under certain circumstances. Whether you are the paying parent or the receiving parent, working with an experienced child support modification attorney is essential.
At Aiello & DiFalco, we regularly assist clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City with child support modifications. We understand that circumstances can change after a divorce or child support case is settled requiring an update to your child support order.
When you meet with us, we will listen to your concerns and help you find the best solution for you and your child. Contact our Nassau County office today to arrange a consultation.
When Can a Child Support Order Be Modified on Long Island and in New York?
Either parent can ask the court for a modification of child support. However, the court will only consider a modification of a child support order under the following conditions:
- A substantial change in circumstances
- Three years have passed since the last order was issued
- A change in either parent’s gross income by 15 percent or more since the order was entered
It is also important to note that parties can opt-out of the 3 years or 15% provisions in a validly executed agreement, so knowing what is in your divorce agreement is critical if you are considering a modification of child support.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
There is a high standard of proof for a substantial change in circumstances. Courts typically require that the change in circumstances be unforeseeable and beyond the control of the parent seeking a modification. The court may agree to child support modification if, for example, the paying parent has lost their job through no fault of their own, and cannot obtain a comparable job despite diligent efforts, or they may seek an upward modification where expenses have increased or there is a significant increase in the paying parent’s income.
Three Years Have Passed
If at least 3 years have passed since the original child support order was issued or last modified, either parent can seek a modification. The amount of child support may be recalculated based on changes to either parent’s income (upward or downward). This statutory provision means that child support is easier to modify and does not require a showing just to get into court for possible recalculation.
Change in Income By at Least 15 Percent
If the paying parent’s income has decreased by at least 15 percent, they can petition the court to reduce the amount of child support. Conversely, if the paying parent’s income has increased by at least 15 percent, the receiving parent has a basis to seek an upward modification of child support.
Emancipation & Recalculation
When one child emancipates and others remain unemancipated, a parent may need to bring a petition to seek a recalculation of child support. A careful review of your current financial situation may be beneficial in order to determine how the recalculation might be resolved.
File Sooner than Later
Any child support modifications are retroactive to the day the request is filed. If you are paying child support and wish to seek a downward modification, the child support will continue to accrue arrears until you file the petition and that petition is granted. File sooner rather than later to ensure that the child support order does not continue to accrue arrears.
If you are hoping to increase child support, the retroactivity to the date of filing means that your child may receive increased benefits from the day you file.
How Our Firm Can Help With Your Child Support Modification
Modifying child support is one of the most common post-divorce issues. At times, the parents may agree to a modification because their family’s needs have changed, but the court must approve any modification. When one parent is seeking a modification and the other does not agree, it requires an experienced child support modification attorney to resolve the matter.
If you need to modify your child support order, we can help to prepare the necessary petition and represent you at the hearing. You can depend on us to help you get the additional support your child needs or the time you need to get back on your feet if you are unable to meet your child support obligations due to a job loss or medical emergency.
Child Support Is a Legal Obligation
A paying parent cannot stop making support payments without court approval. If you fail to meet your child support obligations, the other parent can go to court to enforce the order. Steps the court may take include:
- Garnishing your wages/paycheck
- Suspending driver’s or other licenses
- Placing liens on your personal property (e.g. home, car)
- Levying your bank accounts
- Finding you in contempt
- Up to 6 months in jail
If your personal or financial circumstances have changed, talk to our experienced attorneys before you do anything. We will explore all your options for modifying the order. If you are dealing with a parent who has stopped meeting their child support obligations, you can trust us to hold them accountable, help you enforce the child support order, and get the money your child needs and deserves.
Contact Aiello & DiFalco Today
Modifying a child support order can be relatively easy if you have an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process. Once you become our client, you can rest assured your child’s interests will be protected. Contact us today to get started.