What Are Post-Divorce Modifications For?
When going through a divorce, the courts do their best to provide a fair and equitable agreement for both parties involved. Decisions surrounding child custody, child support, and alimony are some of the more significant orders handed down in family court. However, as time goes on, family needs change, and you may find that decisions made years ago are no longer beneficial to you and/or your children.
It is important to remember that while these orders are legally binding, they are not set in stone. If you or your family goes through significant changes, the orders can be revisited. Post-divorce modifications are a valuable resource for families as they grow into their new lives.
Are Child Support Modifications Common?
Child support is a vital financial resource for your children, and if you were ordered by family court to pay child support to your ex-spouse, you must comply with this order. However, as well all know, finances are never static. Significant life events may render your original child support order insufficient for your current circumstances.
Common reasons people seek child support modifications include:
- The child's circumstances change, resulting in a need for more or less support
- A parent loses a job and no longer can make support payments
- A parent has a dramatic change in income
- A parent has a new child that requires an adjustment in their finances
- A child custody modification necessitates a change in child support as well
- One parent is not complying with the existing child support order
The Child Support Modification Process
In New York, child support orders are reviewed automatically every two years. If there has been over a ten percent increase in cost of living since the order was created or last modified, an adjustment will be made. Outside of this review, both parents have the right to petition the court for a child support modification. To petition the court, you must fill out the required paperwork and file it with the court. While this is something you can do on your own, it is highly recommended that you work with a skilled lawyer when submitting a petition for a child support amendment.
We discuss the modification process for child custody orders here.
How an Attorney Can Help
Just because you submit the proper paperwork does not mean that your child support modification will be successful. The courts review each case thoroughly and take child support modifications very seriously. Their focus is on preserving the best interest of the children. When seeking a change, the key to a favorable resolution will be convincing the court that your modification is necessary.
Working with an attorney familiar with the child support modification process in New York can make a significant difference in your case's outcome. At Letterio & Haug, LLP, our lawyers have extensive experience handling child support modification cases. We are available to discuss your case with you and are prepared to help you determine if you have a case for a modification.
Child Support Enforcement
In New York, parents are legally required to support their children financially until the age of 21. The goal of child support is to ensure that the children affected by divorce receive the same financial support they would have had their parents stayed married. Child support may be used for food, housing, clothing, educational expenses, health care, and other related expenses.
If your former spouse is withholding child support, you have the option to seek enforcement. In New York, there are two types of enforcement: administrative and court-based. Administrative child support enforcement is handled through the child support agency and does not require you to go to court.
The child support agency can pursue a range of enforcement actions, including:
- Credit bureau submissions
- Driver's license suspension
- Income execution
- Income tax refund offset
- Passport denial
- Property execution
- Unemployment insurance intercept
When administrative enforcement is not effective, you have the option to petition the courts for enforcement. Court enforcement methods are more severe. They can order the violating parent into a work program, schedule a hearing to suspend state-issued professional licensing, and even issue a jail sentence.
Child support orders are mandatory and should always be taken seriously. If you are having child support issues, you should reach out to a trusted lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you are struggling to make payments, or your former spouse is withholding child support, Letterio & Haug, LLP is prepared to help. Contact our law office to schedule an appointment.