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What is the Recent Law on Child Support in New York?
June 25, 2021
Recent 2021 Child Support Decisions Highlight Numerous Commonly-Faced Issues
No matter what the issues are in your New York child support matter, having competent, knowledgeable legal representation will help you navigate the processes of production, negotiation, modification, or enforcement of a child support agreement, Order, or judgment. Thus far in 2021, the Appellate Division’s Second Department has decided a number of cases that implicate issues commonly litigated in child support actions. Read on for several examples case law that touch on child support related issues that the Law Office of Lisa Beth Older can help you traverse.
Downward Modification of a Child Support Obligation
In an agreement as to child support, it is important to consider the potential for future changing economic circumstances. New York law allows for a noncustodial parent to seek a modification of child support under certain conditions, such as a substantial change in circumstances, three years of elapsed time, or a 15% change in a party’s gross income. However, if your income is variable from year to year or has the potential to decrease dramatically, it may be worth outlining this possibility in a stipulation of settlement or other child support agreement, providing for more specific potential circumstances that could trigger your entitlement to a downward modification.
Recently, in Rodriguez v. Starks, 194 A.D.3d 1063, the Appellate Division’s Second Department upheld a reduction in child support obligation following the father's successful petition for a downward modification. In this case, the father was an NFL player who made $850,000 per year at time of the entry of the Order of support. However, the agreement between the parties allowed for the father to seek downward mod if he stopped playing professional football. Because the Order contained this provision, the father was entitled to a recalculation of his child support obligation pursuant to the Child Support Standards Act. The Law Office of Lisa Beth Older can assist you in drafting or modifying an agreement that will comport with your particular, individual financial needs.
Inter-State Orders and Judgments
Whether you are new to New York and are seeking enforcement of a child support judgment or Order from another state, or relocating elsewhere and now seeking to enforce a New York child support judgment or Order in another state, you should know that generally, under the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act and Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the state issuing a child support order retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over its child support orders so long as an individual contestant continues to reside in the issuing state. (See: Matter of Spencer v. Spencer, 10 N.Y.3d 60, 66.)
Recently, in the case of Nassau County Dept of Social Services v. Ablog, 194 A.D.3d 817, the Department of Social Services brought a proceeding under the Family Court Act seeking support from the father on behalf of his daughter who had turned 18 and moved to New York. The child support magistrate denied father's motion to dismiss and entered a final order directing him to pay support, but in accordance with the above principles, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division held that Florida retained continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of child support order.
Jurisdictional issues in child support enforcement can become complicated when interstate judgments are involved. The Law Office of Lisa Beth Older can be trusted to navigate these complex issues with care and experience.
Reimbursement of Expenses
In addition to a basic monthly child support obligation, child support Orders and agreements may include provisions that require the noncustodial parent to cover or contribute to reimbursement for additional expenses, such as medical expenses, recreational activities, or education expenses. Under New York law, the party seeking reimbursement of expenses related to support of child must show that he or she actually paid the sums for which reimbursement is sought.
In the recent decision in Parente v. Parente, 193 A.D.3d 862, the former wife petitioned for reimbursement from the former husband for his pro rata share of the children's college expenses pursuant to parties' stipulation of settlement that was incorporated into judgment of divorce. The Court found that the wife had established sufficient proof of payment, however, the Support Magistrate below had erred in failing to award the father a credit against his pro rata share of the room and board expenses for the amount he had paid in child support for the same child at the relevant time.
Determining what is owed by whom when the text of an agreement is complicated or allows for credits and expenses can be difficult. The Law Office of Lisa Beth Older can help you understand your obligations, determine a fair and balanced support agreement, or modify one that is not working for you.
By: Your Manhattan Divorce Lawyer
Lisa Beth Older