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Changes to NY Child Support Modification Laws

In 2010, a law making it easier to keep child support obligations proportional to parents’ income became effective in New York. Specifically, the law provides two new grounds for obtaining a modification of child support.

The two bases for modification of an order of child support are:

  1. The passage of three years since the last child support order was entered, last modified, or adjusted
  2. A 15 percent change in either party’s income since the order was entered, last modified or adjusted provided that any reduction in income was involuntary and the party has made diligent attempts to secure employment commensurate with his or her education, ability and experience.

The second basis addresses the tactic of voluntary impoverishment, where a parent stops working or works below his or her ability in an effort to avoid child support obligations.

Under the new law, parties can specifically opt out of the two new bases for modification pursuant to a validly executed agreement or stipulation. The legislation is clear that the two new methods of obtaining a modification are not intended to limit or define the traditional basis of a substantial change in circumstance. Nor are they intended to supersede case law interpreting the meaning of substantial change in circumstances. For clarity, the substantial change of circumstances basis for modification of child support orders, which is still in full force and effect, has been placed into its own section.

If you or your child’s other parent has had a substantial change in circumstances, or if you think this new law might apply to your situation, contact a New York child support attorney for effective legal guidance and representation. Se habla español.

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