As parents in New York know, raising children can be expensive. This is true whether the parents are together or not. However, when the parents are split, how each parent will pay for the expenses can be a little more difficult. In order to make sure this occurs, generally there is a child support order in place. These orders make one parent pay a certain amount of money to the other parent each month to help contribute to the children's financial needs.
Another thing parents know is that circumstances can change over the course of a child's life. This is especially true if the child support order was first issued when the child was young. Child support orders usually continue until the child is at least 18-years-old, which means orders can last for many years.
The law understands this and in certain circumstances child support orders can be modified. One situation is when there has been a substantial change in the parent's income or in the child's needs. Another is if three years have passed since the order was initially ordered or last modified.
However, the modification does not automatically occur when one of those circumstances occurs. The parent wishing to modify the order must file a petition with the court. Prior to filing the petition, the parent's child support obligation continues even if the parent lost a job and cannot make the payments. The parent will simply accrue arrears as a result.
Many parents in New York have child support orders. These orders may have been issued years ago and circumstances for the parents or children may have changed. If this occurs either parent may be able to seek a modification either upward or downward.
Source: New York City Bar, "Modification of Child Support", accessed on June 20, 2016