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Child Support Modification

Posted on August 30, 2023

Life changes. A child’s needs increase, a parent’s earnings change, and a wide range of other factors can influence child support payments. It is possible to pursue child support modification under New York law, and though complex, it is not uncommon. The key is to demonstrate the benefit to the child for such modifications.

At the Law Office of Vivien F. Stark, P.C., we work with parents who need help with child support modifications so they can create a better outcome for their child while meeting their financial needs. Here is some information to get you started, but be sure to reach out to our legal team for further guidance.

How Does Child Support Modification in New York Work?

New York law allows non-custodial parents to pay custodial care, or child support, to meet the needs of that child until they reach the age of 18. In situations where joint custody occurs, the parent who makes more money is often deemed to have to pay child support.

The amount paid is based on a person’s income. Typically, the amount, once set, remains the same throughout the child’s life, even if a parent’s financial situation changes. To change this, the parent must petition the court to request modification.

Modification of child support orders in New York typically only occurs in situations where a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, and that change directly impacts the parent’s need for child support or payment of child support.

Who Can Petition for Child Support Modification in New York?

Either parent has the ability to petition for modification of child support orders when substantial changes occur. This is done in family court. Typically, modifications lead to increases in child support. However, a petition for a change, as it is often termed, often refers to a decrease in child support.

To be considered, the court will require the petitioner to show:

  • A substantial change in circumstances has occurred recently
  • At least three years have passed since the initial order was issued, or a 15% increase or decrease in income has occurred

What Are Substantial Changes?

For the court to grant such changes, the petitioner must show that the current order is either financially impossible to pay or that the child’s needs are not being met, depending on who is filing the order. Whatever the change is, the petitioner must also provide evidence of that change.

More so, the law requires that these changes should be unforeseen. If the situation could have been foreseen at the time the initial order was placed, modifications are not granted. The court has a very high standard for proving the need to change, and this can make it difficult for either party to obtain the modification they may be seeking.

How to Get Help Throughout This Process

At The Law Office of Vivien F. Stark, P.C., we work with families who have gone through numerous changes over the years and need to make modifications happen. Speak to our child support attorney in New York for help with child support modifications for your specific situation.

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