How to Request Child Support Modifications in New York

There are two ways that a child support order can become active in New York: through parental agreement or court-ordered support that is deemed to be necessary for child care.  Once that order is put into place, however, one or both parents may have questions about how to amend it in order to account for new circumstances.

Either parent is allowed to ask the court for New York child support modification through a petition.  The parent filling out the petition has to show one or a combination of several reasons for requesting the change: that there has been a major change in circumstances for the child or the parent, that three or more years have passed since the initial order, or that a parent has experienced a 15 percent increase or decrease in income.

The first of these ways to modify a New York child support order appears to be somewhat broad, but the circumstances usually fall under a category like medical bills for a child, an illness that is affecting the paying parent and his/her ability to pay, or changes in the parent’s income.  If you believe that you want to consider modifying a New York child support order, you should communicate with an experienced attorney before submitting your petition.

A court will be evaluating whether your particular circumstances qualify for a change in the order, so it’s never wise to attempt to circumvent the system by quitting your job in an attempt to avoid payments.  If you voluntarily leave your employment position, the court can still order payments from you based on what you have earned previously or what your education and skills would allow you to earn in the marketplace.  Should you become unemployed for any reason, it is important to document all efforts to seek new employment.  I tell clients to create a diary listing every job applied for, every email sent, every job advertisement pursued, and every networking event attended.  Keep copies of all letters sent and all resumes.  It’s critical to show that you viewed getting a new job as a full time occupation in and of itself.  It always a good idea to consult with an attorney before requesting a change.