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There are many individuals that are overpaying child support payments. The law says that you can modify your child support payments if you have experienced a change in circumstances since the last child support order was made.

Many individuals, despite having changed circumstances, sit around and let arrears build up to an unmanageable amount before applying for a modification. Please be advised that until you apply for a modification of your existing child support order, your arrears will continue to rise.

A child support modification requires navigating complex legal processes and making a strong argument. You need a Brooklyn child support modification lawyer with experience to help you on this issue. The Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, can help you. Our Brooklyn child support modification attorney is experienced in family law and has worked on numerous child support cases. Our office charges very reasonable attorney’s fees for our services. Call us for a free phone consultation.

How to Handle Child Support Modifications

People have an obligation to support their children based on their financial ability to do so. However, New York law and the courts understand that things change over time. Perhaps the parent paying support has had a significant increase or decrease in income. Or, perhaps the child is now older and requires more or less than the payment amount in the original order. 

If a financially significant change has happened to the payor parent, they need to file a petition to modify their child support order. Because a child support order is a court order, they must file their request in court. Then, they’ll have to prove their rationale before a judge will grant their request. The other parent has a right to oppose the requested modification. 

If the court grants the modification, the new order will be retroactive to the date the payor parent filed the modification request. A court is not likely to change any of your required payments that were due before you filed for your modification. This means that you are still responsible for any arrears that accrued before you filed your modification request.

Reasons a Judge Will Change a Child Support Order

Courts recognize the importance of financially supporting one’s child. Therefore, you must have a compelling reason to request a modification, and you must present your argument persuasively to the judge before they grant your request. Generally, a court will only consider a modification request for one of the following reasons.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

A court will consider modifying a child support order if there’s been a significant and substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change in circumstances may include:

  • A significant change in the cost of raising a child,
  • The payor parent’s income changed substantially,
  • The payor parent involuntarily lost their job or was demoted, 
  • The recipient parent’s income changed significantly, or
  • The custody arrangement changed.

A parent cannot qualify for this modification if they voluntarily quit their job. Incarceration may be considered a substantial change in circumstances so long as the parent’s incarceration isn’t related to not paying child support. 

Three-Year Review

The law recognizes that small financial changes can happen over time that can impact child support. Either party may petition the court for a review of the child support order after three years have passed since the last order was entered. The court will use New York’s guidelines to determine whether to change the child support order. Basically, the court will recalculate child support in the same way it calculated the amount in the initial order. 

Involuntary Change in Income by 15% or More 

If one parent’s income changes by 15% or more, the court will consider modifying a child support order. However, if it is a 15% decrease, the decrease must have been involuntary. The parent experiencing the decrease must be looking for a job or otherwise have evidence that this change wasn’t voluntary. Essentially, the law prevents parents from quitting their jobs in an effort to avoid child support obligations.  

Call Our Office for a Brooklyn Child Support Modification

Even though you are not required to retain an attorney for these proceedings, retaining an experienced Brooklyn child support modification lawyer, like at the Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, will improve your chances. We’re thoroughly familiar with the legal reasons a judge would grant a child support modification. Our attorney can help you gather evidence supporting your modification request and will make a strong argument in front of the judge on your behalf.  Contact us today.
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