Overall, child support orders are static in that they are put in place based on the situation at the time of the divorce. However, everyone knows that a situation can change quickly, for better or for worse. Once the final child support order has been established, both parents are still permitted to seek out a modification of the child support order in certain circumstances. The three circumstances under which a parent can request for modification of child support in New York are as follows:
- Major change in circumstances -- If there is a major change to the cost of raising the child or to the income of the parent, the court may adjust the child support order to make payments lower or higher.
- If three years have passed since the child support order was established, adjusted, or modified, the parent can seek to modify the child support order upward or downward. The court will be able to look at the income calculations that were used to determine the child support obligation.
- If the gross income of either parent has involuntarily changed by 15 percent or more since the child support order was established, adjusted, or modified, a modification can be requested. A parent can request a downward modification if the involuntary change decreased his or her gross income and the parent is looking for higher paying work.
A stipulation of settlement can waive the above circumstances. In the event that circumstances change significantly or a parent loses their job, it is important that at least one party seeks modification immediately. Unless a parent requests modification, the court is unable to adjust the terms of the child support order. For example, if you wait to request a downward modification even though you lost your job, you will owe the same child support obligations even though you can't afford them. Once you file for a modification, you will not accumulate more arrears.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act mandates that the state that originally issued the child support order will keep jurisdiction over the child support order. Essentially, if the child support order was issued in New York, you cannot enforce the order via California courts. However, you can request that a withholding order is sent to another state. The purpose of the withholding order is to specify the support order details and the amount of money to be withheld.
If you want to request an upward or downward modification for a child support order, it is important that you contact an attorney. The experienced family law attorneys at The Law Office of Keith B. Schulefand will work on your behalf to ensure that your best interests are protected.