How to Successfully Reduce your Child Support Payment on Long Island
As a Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, I constantly meet with prospective clients seeking to reduce their child support payment. Just this week, my law firm successfully defended two separate petitions brought by fathers seeking to reduce their child support payments. In both cases, the court determined that the fathers did not prove a sufficient change in circumstances which would allow the court to reduce their child support payments.
Case #1: Injured & on Worker’s Comp
In the first case, the father alleged to have been hurt at work and was receiving benefits from the Worker’s Compensation Board. In fact, at the hearing, the father called as a witness his doctor, an orthopedic surgeon who established through credible testimony the father was in fact injured at work. The court determined that although the father credibly established that he had suffered an injury, he still did not establish a substantial enough change in circumstances to warrant a decrease in his child support payment.
Case #2: Income Reduced Since Child Support Agreement
In the second case, the father claimed that his income at the time of the hearing was about 50% less than his income at the time he entered into the child support agreement. The court determined that the father credibly testified that his income was less now than it was at the time he entered into his child support agreement. Nonetheless, the court dismissed his petition because it determined that despite the father proving that his income had decreased, a decrease in his income alone was not a sufficient enough change in circumstances to warrant a decrease in his child support payment.
So, if a Decrease in Income Alone is not Enough to Reduce your Child Support Payment, how do you win a Child Support Reduction Case?
First, you hire our Divorce and Family Law firm. All kidding aside, both of these fathers were represented by well-respected family law attorneys. Despite being competently represented, each father lost their case. When seeking to reduce your child support payment, it is imperative that you retain an attorney who is competent in child support cases.
While there can be exceptions, a person seeking to reduce their child support payment can generally seek to do so under one of the following three circumstances:
(1) there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the date of the previous child support order
(2) three years have passed since the date that the last child support order was entered, modified, or adjusted, or
(3) there has been a 15% change in the income of either party since the date the last child support order was entered, modified, or adjusted.
Just Because You Can File a Petition, Does Not Mean You Will Get a Reduction
To be clear, one of the three previous situations must be present to enable a party seeking to reduce their support payment to file a petition, however, just because one of these three circumstances are present, does not mean that the petitioner is automatically entitled to a reduction. This is where both fathers I referred to above lost their cases.
Once a petitioner establishes that there has either been a change in circumstances, or it has been three years from the date of the last order, or that their income has decreased by 15%, the petitioner must then prove that they diligently sought re-employment commensurate with their qualifications, and, that they cannot satisfy their support obligations through any other means of employment or assets that they may own.
Both fathers failed to prove that they diligently sought other work. In the first case, the father had other assets, and he failed to prove that those assets were depleted to the extent which would not allow him to make any further support payments. In the second case, the father failed to establish that he sought additional, or other, employment to supplement his income.
So, What Does this Mean For Your Case?
If seeking to reduce your child support payment, you must first establish that there has either been a substantial change in circumstances, three years have passed from the date of your last order, or, that you have suffered a 15% loss of income. You must also prove, that you have diligently sought other work, and, that you do not own any assets which would allow you to satisfy your support obligation.
Check out our Divorce Guide for Dads for more information about divorce issues specifically related to fathers.
Do You Have Questions About Reducing your Child Support Payment for Your Long Island Family Law Attorney?
Knowing the laws about child support is an essential part of what we do. If you are seeking to reduce your child support payment, it is important to have an experienced Long Island Family Law Attorney by your side. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.
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