Child support is modified differently depending upon when the order that you're trying to modify was issued. If the order was issued after October 2010, the standard is – it’s a two-part standard – either the income of the payor spouse is increased by 15 percent or more, or it’s been a period of three or more years since the order was issued.
If it sounds relatively straight forward, well, it is. If your spouse’s income has gone up by 20 percent, well, all you have to do is file a petition for modification, and you can rest assured that you’ll get an increase in child support based on that increase in income. If my client says it’s been four years since the order issued, same thing. You’ll get an increase in your child support.
Problems arise when the order that you're trying to modify was issued prior to that October 2010 date. If you're unlucky enough to have your order issued in July of 2010, then the standard is only substantial change of circumstances. We’re talking about basic child support here, that weekly or monthly number. The modification of a basic child support obligation on pre-October 2010 orders depends on the income having substantially changed, but also the needs of the child have to have increased dramatically, and the ability of the payee spouse (custodial parent) has to be lacking in some demonstrable way.
That can get a little tricky because when you are talking about meeting the needs of a child that have increased, first you need to show the needs have actually increased. You have to have some kind of documented evidence of what that child's expenses were at the time of the initial order as well as what they are now. You also have to survive the inquiry of what your income is now from all sources. That includes the current child support, that could include your current spouse's income, and your income. It can be a tricky court case to get a modification upward of a child support obligation that was issued prior to October 2010.
For a free consultation regarding a divorce or family law issue in Suffolk or Nassau County, please contact us or call (631) 337-1977. We look forward to speaking with you.