In many instances in which a couple with a child divorces, one spouse will be the primary income earner, while the other will be responsible for raising the child. Thus, it is not uncommon for a court to order one parent to pay child support to the other. Support obligations are not permanent, however, and can be modified under certain circumstances. In a recent case, a New York court discussed the burden of proof imposed on a party who wishes to obtain a modification of a support obligation. If you receive or pay child support pursuant to a court order and want to seek a modification, you should meet with a New York child support attorney to discuss the evidence that you must produce to obtain a modification.
Facts and Procedure of the Case
The mother and the father divorced in 2014. The mother was granted sole custody of their only child, and the father was ordered to pay approximately $2,500.00 per month in child support. In 2018, the father sought a modification of his support obligation. In his petition, the father alleged that he was wrongfully terminated, resulting in a reduction of his income of over 15%, and that the mother’s income had increased by more than 15%. Following a hearing, the court denied the father’s petition. The father then appealed.
Proving That a Support Modification is Warranted
Under New York law, a party seeking a modification of a child support obligation must establish that there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a modification. In assessing whether a change in a parent’s circumstances warrants a modification of a support obligation, the court will evaluate several factors, including the child’s needs, an increase in the cost of living, a loss of income or assets of either parent, and a significant improvement in the financial situation of either parent.