Do You Want to Modify Your Child Support Agreement?
Child support is often the source for disagreement and contention between alienated individuals attempting to co-parent their child. When a party feels that the child support payment they are receiving is not enough, or the payer feels that the payment is too high, a child support modification may be in order.
An experienced attorney can help you seek a child support modification so that the best interests of you and your child or children are adequately represented.
How to Make a Child Support Modification in Nassau County
In 2010, New York made some changes to the way in which child support modifications may be modified and when. Under these new guidelines, a modification to child support obligations may be made only if:
- Three years have passed since the date of the original order or most recent modification; and
- A party’s income has either increased or decreased 15%
If all of the preceding requirements are not met, a party may still petition the court for a modification, but this is only if there has been an unanticipated and unreasonable change of circumstances.
The non-custodial parent’s income is then subjected to calculation of support under the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) in the same manner in which it was initially calculated.
Proving a Change in Circumstances
A party seeking a downward modification must prove to the court that his or her decrease in income was involuntary, and that he or she has diligently sought employment in accordance with his or her abilities, skills, educational qualifications, experience, etc. Thus voluntary periods of unemployment, such as to pursue educational aspirations and the like are not acceptable as a basis for a downward modification.
The benefit of these new requirements is that it makes it easier to revisit child support payments after a period of time, whereas the prior process required a party to show somewhat cumbersome documentation in order to initiate upward modification.
In the past, an upward modification was only available in circumstances where the expenses related to raising the child increased for some reason, and the party had documents to prove this assertion, both relating to expenses at the time of the original order and documents representing these expenses at the time of the attempted modification, along with proof of how income was inadequate to meet these expenses--thus, an upward modification was difficult to obtain. Additionally, in such a case, a non-custodial parent could almost always assert that an upward modification would amount to a financial hardship.
Under New York law, there is no automatic provision for an adjustment of child support. This means that a dramatic increase or decrease in income for one of the parents, such as in the case of bankruptcy or unemployment, does not automatically lower the child support payment obligations.
Contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. today!
Matters relating to child support and child custody, whether at the time of separation or divorce, or when a modification is necessary, can be incredibly stressful and emotionally charged. An attorney can help ease the process giving you the peace of mind to know that your interests are represented.
If you need to modify your existing child support agreement, the experienced lawyers at Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. can assist you through this stressful time.