How Many Times is Child Support Modification Allowed in NY?

Apr 02, 2020

Child-support is very often the subject of the most hotly-contested matrimonial and family litigation issues handled by Brooklyn child support lawyers in New York Family and Supreme Courts. Parties will petition the court for either an upward or downward modification based upon the factors as set forth in the Domestic Relations Law and Family Court Act statutes. Under DRL Sec. 236B(9)(b) (and FCA Sec. 451) parties have the right to seek a modification of a child support order upon a showing of (i) a substantial change in circumstances, or (ii) that three years have passed since the order was entered, last modified or adjusted, or (iii) there has been a change in either party’s gross income by fifteen percent or more since the order was entered, last modified or adjusted. As a side note, upon agreement the parties may elected to opt out of the above subparagraphs (ii) or (iii).

Typically, the party receiving support will be the one seeking an upward modification and the party paying child support is often the one requesting a downward modification. The Levitsky Law Firm have extensive experience representing parties in New York seeking both upward and downward modifications of child support.

Each case turns on its own facts. However, applications for upward and downward modifications of child-support are common. They are so common, but not all petitioners are aware of criteria they need to meet in order to have their application granted.

Applications for upward or downward modifications of child-support are statutory based and often times Judges and Referees take other various factors into consideration. While there is no limit to the number of applications a party can make per se, litigants must be cautious when filing their petitions to modify their child support obligation or award. Some referees are known for denying frivolous applications with prejudice, which means that person will be precluded from filing such petitions in the future.

It Is quite often the case that a party seeking an upward modification of child-support will base their application upon the fact that the party paying child support has received an increase in pay or has taking a job that has a higher salary. In some instances, the parties seeking an upward modification of child-support will base their application on the fact that their own circumstances have changed, thus requiring an increase in child support.

As for the party seeking a downward modification, again, the facts and circumstances of the matter will carry the day. There is not a limit on the amount of applications a party can make seeking a downward modification. Parties seeking a downward modification will often do so based upon the fact that they have become unemployed, that the other party has taken a job that pays them more money or that the other party has remarried, obviating the need for child support altogether. As a precaution, when a party who seeks downward modification because they lost their job, that party must demonstrate that they have been seeking same or similar employment and that they did not maliciously lost their income just to defeat their child support obligation.

Parties are free to petition the court for an upward or downward modification of child-support as many times as they wish. However, the parties do run the risk that the court will stop taking them seriously and mandate orders which will preclude litigants if they make applications too frequently.

Parties should only file for an upward or downward modification if their petition has merit and they can realistically and reasonably support their application. This is why they are best advised to consult with and retain the finest Brooklyn child support lawyers in practice today, the Levitsky Law Firm, before filing any petitions with the Court.