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Does Remarriage Affect Child Support?

If you are planning on getting remarried, you may wonder whether your court-order child support payments will be affected (as the payor). Your new spouse will not be obligated to contribute to payments and has no legal duty to financially support children from a previous relationship. However, remarriage can have various effects on requests for modification of the child support order.

How Remarrying Can Affect Child Support Modification Requests

Either party can request that their child support be modified (to increase or decrease the current payment amount). To request modification, there must be a significant change in circumstances that affects your ability to pay or necessitates an increased payment amount. Requests for child support modification can also be made for orders entered after October of 2010 if three years have passed since the original order was established or the last modification was made.

If the custodial parent asks that the order be modified to increase the support payments, matters can get complicated if you have more children with your new spouse. As these children and your family will also have needs, the courts will consider the other children's needs. The needs of additional children can also be an important factor in cases where a payor has new children after remarrying and requests to decrease established child support orders concerning children from a previous marriage.

What Circumstances Allow for Modification of Child Support Orders in NY?

As we mentioned, you cannot simply request a modification without a valid reason (i.e. a significant change in circumstances). You should consult with an attorney as they can advise on whether your reason for requesting a modification would be deemed valid by the court.

Common examples of significant changes in circumstances are:

  • The child's medical or educational needs have changed.
  • Either parent or the child has become permanently disabled.
  • The cost of raising a child has significantly increased in another way.
  • Either parent has experienced a significant decrease or increase (i.e. about l5%) in income.

Can You Request a Modification If You Quit Your Job?

Many child support payees request a modification if they are laid off or lose their job. However, can you file a request if you voluntarily left your current employment?

While you can file if you left your job, the court may impute income to you if you left your job without cause. Imputing income means the court will determine your income based on what you earned previously and/or what you are capable of earning (based on your employment history, skills, and job opportunities). In these cases, your child support payments will remain the same.

How to Modify a Child Support Order

If you want to request a modification, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They can help you collect evidence to support the material change in circumstances influencing the request. To file for modification, you will need to:

  • Collect the name and address of the other party, a copy of the original or current support order, and the names, birth dates, and addresses of the children involved in the support case.
  • File a petition or motion for modification.

Need help with your child support case? At Rubenfeld Law Firm, our attorney has over 30 years of legal experience and is equipped to help you file to modify an existing child support order or establish an order. To schedule a case consultation, call (631) 777-7200 or reach out online today.