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Q: When my ex and I settled our divorce which was So Ordered, we agreed that I would be responsible for half our child’s college tuition with a SUNY Cap. We also agreed that I would pay for extracurricular activities with an annual cap. My ex wants the Family or Supreme Court to increase the my originally So Ordered college tuition and extracurricular activity contributions claiming that now my daughter suddenly has a learning disability (even though she gets mostly As, and there is no documented learning disability) and that I am not paying enough for my daughter’s activities (I pay my So Ordered amount for my daughter’s horseback riding lessons – which are very expensive and my ex wants my daughter to pursue. My daughter is not a state or nationally-ranked equestrian). Can the State order me to pay more than what was originally So Ordered for college and extracurricular activities?
A: It depends largely on whether you did a “stipulation of settlement” (a/k/a “settlement agreement”) as part of your divorce action. If you did, then (unless the agreeable states that provision is modifiable) generally the Family Court cannot modify such an agreement. The modification statute (support is generally modifiable once every 3 years or if there’s been a 15% change of income) addresses basic support, not add-ons (as a general proposition). Schedule a consultation with a White Plains Child Support attorney for a full assessment.