Any family court order can, in theory, be modified so long as it is the final order and it is entered by the court, signed by the Judge. If there is, as a general rule, a “substantial change of circumstances” since the entry of the original order, that order can be modified. There is a special statute in regards to child support modification that’s been in place since 2010. For any orders that are entered on or after 2010, then it is subject to either if there has been a substantial change of circumstances or if there has been a 15% change of the parties’ incomes up or down, or if three years has passed since the entry of the original order. If a valid agreement is entered in regards to child support and the parties do not opt out of those modification standards, then the modification standards that I just laid out still do apply. If they do opt out, then the agreement itself governs what, if any, modification they get.
How Common Is It That Enforcement Of A Modification To A Custody Or Support Order Is Going To Be Needed?
It is somewhat common that parties will enforce modification orders just as they would enforce the regular orders, the underlying orders. The fact that the order has been modified does not necessarily play a role one way or the other in whether it would need to be enforced. If you modify a custody or visitation order and then one party or the other violates that order, then that order itself can be enforced.
Why Is Enforcement Of Modification To Orders For Custody And Support Often Needed?
There are situations where one party does not follow the order, even on a modification. It is best to try to resolve the issue out of court first. Send a default notice letter stating the violation of the order and a request to rectify the situation to the other party. If they feel they have not violated the order, ask them to put their reasons into writing.
You may want to get lawyers involved even at that early stage, not only to assist in the drafting of the default notice letter, but also to possibly negotiate whether there is or isn’t a violation. Doing so may prevent you from having to go back into court. If issues cannot be rectified out of court, then your next step is to file an enforcement action in family court.
How Do I Seek Enforcement Of Modifications To A Family Court Order In New York?
Seeking enforcement of modifications to a family court order in New York is done in the same manner as an enforcement of an underlying order. You will file an enforcement petition with the family court seeking to hold the person either in contempt of court or just merely to enforce the order.
I’m In a Situation Where A Proposed Custody Or Support Enforcement Is Unworkable Or Not In The Best Interest Of The Child. Is There Anything That I Can Do?
If you find yourself in a situation where a proposed enforcement mechanism is not workable, then you need to discuss with your attorney whether there are alternatives. One common example we have seen is when a father owes tens or hundreds of thousands in child support arrears. Let’s say the father works and earns undocumented money & does not own any property or have any assets. There is no way to collect the child support owed. If father is not visiting with the children either, the mother has other options. She can send the father to jail or think about terminating the father’s rights. If there is a new significant other in the mother’s life, she might consider terminating the father’s rights by having that person adopt the children. There are other options that can be discussed as well.
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