Children have the right to receiving financial support from both parents. This money is not a means of punishing one parent or rewarding another; it is a way to protect a child’s well-being.
Over time, these orders may require modification to ensure they remain fair and appropriate based on parental resources and a child’s needs.
When is modification appropriate?
Either parent can petition the courts for a modification of support. However, before doing so, parents should be able to show that there has been a material change in their circumstances. Some examples of what might constitute this type of change include:
- Parental job loss (unintentional)
- Significant shifts in parenting time
- A change in a child’s medical needs
- A parent having another child to support
- Changes in a parent’s health and abilities
- Significant increases or decreases in a child’s care requirements
These changes may be significant enough to make an existing order for child support improper.
By filing a petition to modify support, parents can have the courts review the circumstances and recalculate child support amounts.
Modification mistakes to avoid
If you are hoping to have the courts approve a modification of child support, there are some mistakes you to avoid.
One mistake is informally changing your order yourselves. Often, parents think that if they agree to a modification, they do not need to go to court for approval. This is a mistake, though. The courts only recognize and enforce official court orders.
In other words, even if both parents want to modify a support order, they must have the courts sign off on it.
Another misstep could be waiting too long to petition the courts for a modification. Waiting too long could mean that the paying parent starts missing payments and facing costly penalties, while the receiving parent could go without crucial financial assistance.
Avoiding these mistakes when it comes to modifying child support orders in New York can ensure that parents and children continue to have a fair and reasonable order in place, even as circumstances change.