When a child support order is made in New York, it is essential that the supporting parent make the payments in full and on time to serve the best interests of the child. There are instances, however, in which a parent would like to have the order changed. There can be many reasons for this. Regardless of why there is a desire for the modification, it is imperative to understand the child support guidelines for such a change. Failing to do so can make the situation worse.
The following instances are sufficient to show a change in circumstances for a child support modification: if the noncustodial parent is unemployed or has a reduced income that came about through no fault of their own; if the noncustodial parent is granted custody of the child; or if the child becomes emancipated to go to work on a fulltime basis, to marry, to enter the military or for another reason. The request for modification should be filed when the life changes take place. There is no retroactive change to the child support order. Because it is not retroactive, if there was money owed before the change is ordered, it will still be owed in full.
There is certain information that must be brought to the hearing. There should be a signed and notarized financial affidavit; pay stubs or unemployment pay stubs; the most recent tax returns; W-2's; the documents related to custody or for a custody change; or information proving the child has been emancipated. Only the family court can change a child support order. A mistake frequently made by parents seeking child support modification is to stop paying the child support. Not only does this have the potential to harm the child, but it can result in numerous penalties against the supporting parent. It is always wise to do this through the proper legal channels.
Changing child support is possible provided it is done for a viable reason and the attempt is made legally and with all the necessary information. When considering a modification, having help from an attorney who is experienced in child support and is adept at navigating a child support dispute is key. Taking the law into one's own hands is a mistake and an attorney should be consulted regardless of the situation.
Source: acf.hhs.gov, "Changing a Child Support Order in Your State," accessed on April 18, 2017