Modification of Orders
I strongly recommend that a highly experienced Attorney be retained to ensure that the case is thoroughly prepared for a Modification hearing. A lay person simply does not have the knowledge to properly present the evidence necessary to prevail.
In the simplest of terms, to obtain a Modification of Child Support, New York law provides that the threshold for a modification is met if three years have elapsed or there has been a change of 15% in income, since the last Order was made.
From the standpoint of the recipient, an application for review can be made on or after the third anniversary of the prior Order of Support. In addition, the recipient may apply for an increase in Support, which is typically granted, if the payor’s income has increased 15% or more since the last Order was made.
So, in practical terms a recipient of Child Support can apply for and receive an increase of Child Support if the payor’s income has increased by less than 15% after three years from the date of the prior Order. On the other hand, there is no waiting period for an application for a Modification of Child Support if income of the payor has increased by more than 15%.
It is more complicated when the payor seeks a reduction of Child Support. It is my experience that a reduction of payor income by 15% by the payor is not enough, in and of itself, to obtain a modification in most circumstances. To get a reduction the payor must prove by competent evidence and testimony that the reduction in income was not voluntary and through no fault or misconduct of the payor. Also, if the reason for the reduction is the loss of a job, the payor must present competent proof and testimony from the former employer for the reason for the severance. The payor must also present proof of a thorough and exhaustive job search, including the jobs applied for, the date of the application and follow up. If there were communications with prospective employers or interviews, those must be proven as well. The outcome of the job search process must be presented to the Court in a clear and thoughtful manner.
The proof and testimony necessary to obtain a downward modification is far more complex when the applicant payor is a self-employed business person. Allow me to provide a couple of examples. While it would not be difficult to demonstrate the failure of a videotape rental business in 2018 (due to technological obsolescence and new innovations), proof of a reduction income of a residential home improvement contracting business owner (or other cash-based businesses) might be far more difficult to prove to a Court. Abandoning a second or third job without good cause also presents difficulty in proof to a Court. These cases are quite easy to lose and I am frequently meet with litigants who come to me after the Court has already ruled against them on a downward modification.
I possess the level of experience required to handle all types of Modification cases.
Please contact the office of H. Michael Stern to schedule an appointment for a Free Consultation at 516-747-2290 or 718-DIVORCE to discuss your modification, family law, child support or divorce case.
My office is conveniently located in Garden City near the Roosevelt Field Mall, in Nassau County NY.
The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York.