Either a father or a mother could petition for a child support order to be modified. These petitions are relatively rare. Usually, it’s the recipient of the support looking to raise support or the payer looking for a reduction of child support.
What Are The Reasons That A Court Might Consider Modification Of Child Support?
Usually, you’d need to show a substantial change of circumstances to change child support. In 2010, the law was amended to add two other basis to change child support. The first is either family income has gone up or down by at least 15 percent. The second is three years have passed since support was set or adjusted. This makes it much easier for either party to come into court and adjust child support. The prior law requiring only a substantial change of circumstances set a much higher bar. Now, many parties are just using that three year trigger to go in and file a petition because they don’t have to prove that there is a substantial change. All you have to prove is that three years have passed and then there is automatic adjustment.
If the parties have done either a separation agreement or a stipulation settlement in a divorce case, they can either opt in or opt out from those modification standards. They can change it so that the other party will also have to prove a substantial change of circumstances and they will not get an automatic increase if there is a change of 15 percent or three years have passed. They can even change the legal standard to “unanticipated change of circumstances,” which would be the highest bar that the law recognizes in New York to be able to modify child support.
There is also a provision that if the parties’ agreement does not specifically opt out of the modification standards, they have opted in. They are agreeing that child support can be modified if there is a change in income by 15 percent or three years have passed.
Will The Court Modify Child Support If The Parent Paying Child Support Loses Their Job?
If a person voluntarily quits or is fired due to misconduct, they usually will not get a modification of child support. However, there are exceptions. If someone quits his job but he quits for valid reasons that can be documented, like medical issues, the court may agree to a modification. If they have quit their job under circumstances where they were being forced out by, for example, an outlandish relocation demand, even the Department of Labor would consider that a non-voluntary quit.
There could be other circumstances where you quit for very good reasons, such as you are a victim of sexual harassment or racial harassment. If you quit your job, sued your employer, and filed a complaint against your employer, you can document that to the child support issue. Anything the Department of Labor would recognize to be a valid reason for quitting can give you a chance at a modification. Of course, then you have the obligation to prove that you are making a diligent search to find new employment.
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