New York Child Support: You Can Obtain A Downward Modification

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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In these tough economic times, many non-custodial parents simply cannot afford to pay the amount of child support required of them. But, can you obtain a downward modification of child support in New York? According to our NY legal expert’ absolutely.

New York Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot Schlissel, a Lynbrook New York based attorney who has been assisting clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County and New York City’s five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island for over 30 years, explained how a non-custodial parent can obtain a downward modification of child support:

In order to obtain a downward modification of child support in New York, a parent must bring a proceeding either to the Family Court or in the Supreme Court. He or she must allege, in the downward modification application, that there has been an unforeseen change in circumstances that has caused them, due to no fault of their own, to experience a reduction in income.

The person must show that he or she is using due diligence to try to obtain a better job or make more money and that they have made attempts, either through the Internet, employment agencies or by directly approaching other employers to obtain other employment to increase his or her income. The court will review the application and then make a decision as to whether he or she is entitled to a reduction in child support.

Answers to FAQ about changing child support payments

Attorney Schlissel provided answers to the following frequently asked questions (FAQ) about changing child support payments:

Question: What happens if an individual paying child support loses his or her job?

Answer: If you lose your job, the child support remains unchanged. You do not automatically get a reduction. You have to apply either to the Supreme Court or the Family Court for a downward modification, prove you lost the job through no fault of your own and that you’re using due diligence to obtain a new job.

Question: What happens if an individual is downsized or laid off? Is the child support automatically reduced?

Answer: No. Child support remains the same no matter what happens to you. You must go back to the court, bring a downward modification application, and convince a court that you need your child support [obligations] reduced.

Question: What happens if an individual paying child support becomes disabled or is in a car accident?

Answer: Unfortunately, even if you’re in a car accident and totally disabled, your child support continues. You still have to bring a downward modification proceeding in the Family Court or Supreme Court and convince the court that you are disabled, can’t support your child, and that you’re entitled to a downward modification.

Question: What happens if someone simply can’t pay child support?

Answer: Unfortunately, this happens to some parents. You end up being put in arrears. Your wages get garnished and you can lose your driver’s license. Under certain circumstances, an application can be made to hold you in contempt of court and incarcerate you.

Contact an experienced adoption, support and child custody lawyer in your state to assist you through the process of modifying your child support obligations. Consultations are free, without obligation and strictly confidential.

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