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When children are involved in a divorce, one parent usually has primary custody of the children. This parent has the responsibility to provide for the day-to-day needs of the children. The non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. This is a fixed amount based on the court’s assessment of the financial positions of both parents. Typically this amount is based on fixed percentage of the income of non-custodial parent, but the courts do have discretion to take other factors into account.
Sometimes financial circumstances change. Unfortunately, the amount of child support that you receive or pay does not automatically change with these new circumstances. When changes happen, a parent can petition the court to modify the child support arrangement. At Raiser & Kenniff, PC we can help you modify your child support arrangement in New York City.
Reasons to Modify Child Support
Parents who want to modify their child support arrangements need to demonstrate that at least one of three criteria are met: a substantial change in circumstances, a period of three years since the last child support agreement or a 15% change in the income of one of the parents.
A substantial change in circumstances usually involves a medical emergency or illness. A child may have become ill, and medical bills necessitate more child support. The parent without custody may also become ill and request a downward adjustment in support in order to take care of medical expenses.Another change in circumstance might be a remarriage that increase the household income of one or both of the parents. In these cases, one of the parents asks the court to consider these new circumstances in recalculating child support. Whatever the situation, the petitioning parent must demonstrate that the circumstances used to calculate the child support was based have changed.
If one parent can show that his or her income has changed by more than 15% since the last child support calculation, he or she can petition the court to modify the child support arrangement. If the paying parent’s income is reduced, this parent can petition for a downward adjustment. In this case, the parent involved must demonstrate that this decrease is not voluntary, and that all avenues to secure more income have been tried. In addition, the receiving parent can petition for an upward adjustment of the child support, if the paying parent has had a 15% increase in income.
If neither of these two conditions apply, parents must wait three years from the date of the previous child support agreement to request a recalculation. This time period gives parents an opportunity to adjust their arrangement for cost of living increases without tying up the courts.
If your child support payments are overwhelming your finances, do not stop paying. Instead, contact an experienced lawyer at the Raiser & Kenniff, PC to help you. If you simply stop paying, you will be in contempt of the court order. You could be fined or even spend time in jail. You can petition the court for a modification in your child support, but until this is approved, you must continue to make your payments.
It might be tempting to quit your job in order to reduce your child support payments. This is not a good idea. The court is going to want to see evidence that your change in income was not voluntary. You will also have to provide evidence of attempts to seek employment. You will get a modification only for involuntary and unanticipated changes in your circumstances.
If the court finds that you could have done something to preserve your income, it can estimate what you should be earning based on your income history and the going rate for your skill set. It can then calculate child support payments based on this estimate. If you feel that your child support has become burdensome, your bet is to talk to a lawyer about your situation. Then you can prepare a solid case to ask for a downward adjustment.
Raiser & Kenniff, PC – Serving New York City
If you want to petition the courts for a modification to your child support arrangement, Raiser & Kenniff, PC can help. We have over 50 years of combined experience practicing family law. Whether we need to assemble forensic evidence or research the legal aspects of the case, we will do everything we can to bring out the outcome in your case.
We are a family-friendly practice that wants to do what is your family. We will take every precaution to minimize the stress on your family. We want to make sure that your child support is fair so that your children are taken care of in the way. We also want to protect the rights of parents paying child support. Just because you are divorced, it does not mean that child support has to drain all your resources. We want you to have peace of mind about your case. Our office is staffed 24 hours a day so that you can get your questions answered quickly without worrying.
At Raiser & Kenniff, PC we offer a free consultation. Come in and find out about modifying your child support arrangements. We can answer your questions and help you determine the course of action when petitioning the court to recalculate your child support.