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The Differences Between Enforcing & Modifying Child Support Orders in New York

Child Support

Child support is the ongoing financial contribution from a parent that helps to cover the costs of raising a child. It is usually paid to the parent with residential custody of the child. Child support payments are typically established either through court or via an agreement between the two parents, and are often based on each parent's respective income level. The amount of money required may vary depending on each family’s individual circumstances.

If you have court-ordered child support, you may need to enforce or modify your orders eventually, as circumstances change. This article aims to provide clarity on the differences between enforcing and modifying child support orders in New York, as well as the legal requirements and steps to take for each.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Enforcement of child support orders occurs when one parent has failed to fulfill their child support obligations, resulting in a need to compel them to pay the ordered amount. It is essential to keep track of any missed child support payments and other relevant documentation to prove the non-custodial parent's non-compliance.

If you are the custodial parent and have not been receiving the designated child support payments, some methods can be used to obtain the owed amount. These methods can include contempt, wage garnishment, tax refund garnishment, and even driver's license suspension.

An attorney can help you file a petition for enforcement against the parent who has failed to pay owed support. They can also help you understand your legal rights and options.

Potential Consequences of Non-Compliance

Ignoring child support orders can lead to severe consequences, including license suspensions, and even jail time. Therefore, it is critical to address any child support issues as soon as they arise. If you are experiencing difficulties making your child support payments, it is crucial to notify the court and seek a modification to avoid any legal ramifications.

Modifying Child Support Orders

On the other hand, modifying child support orders might occur when there are substantial changes in either parent's life or the life of the child that warrants an adjustment to the child support amount. Some common reasons for modification requests include:

  • changes in income,
  • loss of employment,
  • or significant changes in the child's educational or medical needs.

In New York, child support orders can be generally modified under the following conditions: (1) three years have passed since the order was initially entered or last modified, (2) either parent has experienced a 15% change in income; or (3) a substantial change in circumstance occurred.

When requesting a modification of a child support order, the court will typically review the current order, financial documents from both parents, and any other relevant information to determine if a change is necessary. The court may consider various factors when deciding for or against modification at their discretion. These factors can encompass the best interests of the child, the financial resources of each parent, and the basis for the original child support order.

Contact Our Firm for Legal Counsel

Understanding the distinctions between enforcing and modifying child support orders in New York is crucial when faced with changing circumstances or non-payment of child support. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney will help you navigate the process seamlessly and ensure your child's needs are met throughout any changes.

If you believe that your current child support order needs to be enforced or modified, it is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help evaluate your situation, gather necessary information, and guide you through the process. Some parents also choose to utilize mediation services, allowing for mutual agreements on child support revisions to be facilitated by a neutral third party.

At Rubenfeld Law Firm, our attorney handles post-judgement modification cases and can help you determine whether your change in circumstance legally warrants a modification. We can also help you draft and file your petition as well as handle the case legalities.

Learn more about our modification services by calling (631) 777-7200 or completing our online contact form.