Many residents of Long Island who have experienced the turmoil of a divorce look on the judge’s signature on the final order as the last step in a long and exhausting journey. Of course, life is inherently uncertain, and a change in circumstances of one or both parents may require a modification of the court’s order for child support. The relevant factors are discussed below.
A substantial change in one parent’s financial circumstances
The first test for modification of an order for child support is a demonstration by the requesting party that substantial changes have occurred in one parent’s income or to the cost of raising the child. This factor is usually proved by the submission of banking records or tax returns or other evidence of a change in one parent’s financial condition.
Three years have passed
The passage of three years since the issuance of the current child support order grants the court authority to examine the parties’ current incomes and make any necessary changes to the Basic Child Support Amount. One or both parties must make a motion to the court requesting such a change.
Change in gross income
Another factor is an involuntary change in gross income of 15% since the current order was issued, modified or adjusted. If the parent whose income has decreased is actively seeking higher-paying work, that parent can request the court to adjust the amount of child support accordingly.
The divorced parents are free to reach an agreement concerning a change in the amount of child support, but if one of the parents defaults, and if the agreement was never signed, a judge may not enforce it. Even a parental agreement on a modification of child support should be submitted to the court for approval.