CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION IN NASSAU & SUFFOLK COUNTY: THE BASICS
To begin with, child support in Nassau and Suffolk counties is generally determined within the structure of a formula set forth in the Child Support Standards Act, referred to most often as the “C.S.S.A.” However, although this formula is a relatively simple calculation, factors which are set out in applicable statutes, case law (previous court decisions) and other facts and circumstances of the particular case may impact the child support amount to be paid by the “non-custodial” parent to the “residential custodial parent.” The “residential custodial parent” is the parent with whom the child resides most of the time and the “non-custodial parent” has visitation or what is now referred to as “parenting time” with the child.
It should be noted that the general trend today is that parties are moving towards 50/50 shared time with their children and that the Courts in Nassau County and Suffolk County, meaning here, both the Supreme Court in divorce cases and the Family Court in custody, visitation and child support cases, seem to be encouraging such arrangements so long as the determination is made that parenting time 50/50 shared schedule is in the best interest of the child at that time.
Where there is a 50/50 parenting time schedule agreed upon, there may be a basis to reduce the payor parent’s child support amount due to the equal or close to equal division of parenting time between the parties. There are also other reasons why child support should deviate from what the CSSA terms the “presumptively correct amount” of child support to be paid to the residential custodial parent. Later blogs will examine the application of the CSSA in depth and address example instances where strict application of the CSSA to arrive at the child support amount in a case may not be appropriate or even mathematically possible.
In 2010, new child support modification laws were passed in New York which greatly impact any child support agreement or child support order in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The law is as follows: unless the parties expressly “opt out” of this “new” law, either party may seek to modify a previous child support order as follows:
- Every three years;
- If income changes by 15% or more, either increasing or decreasing;
- There has been a “substantial change in circumstances” since the date of the most recent child support order.
In order to be enforceable by a Nassau or Suffolk County court, child support obligations and amounts must be set forth in a court order, coming out of either Supreme Court or Family Court. Courts may modify child support orders; generally, except in very limited situations, a Court cannot modify child support obligation which are set forth merely in a contract between parents, such as for example, a separation agreement.
The law differentiating between the modification power of a Court for child support in the instance of there being just an Order, in the instance of an agreement where the parties have had that written agreement “incorporated” into that Order by “reference,” in the instance where that agreement is “merged” into that Order and in the instance where there is only a written child support agreement between the parties is quite complex and will be explained in detail in later posts and blogs by The Pollack Law Firm, P.C.
To better understand the law impacting the modification of child support in Nassau and Suffolk County and how your particular facts and circumstances could impact this important issue, you are invited to contact Robert B. Pollack, Esq., principal attorney of The Pollack Law Firm, P.C.
The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., serving clients in Nassau and Suffolk County, is always available to assist and represent parties in divorce and all other matrimonial and family law matters. Please call today to schedule a free consultation: (516) 938-3330.
By The Pollack Law Firm, P.C.: Divorce and all phases of matrimonial law, family law and mediation
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to provide only general information for entertainment purposes and should never be relied upon as legal advice. One should seek the assistance of experienced matrimonial counsel to assist in explaining the law, options and making important decisions in any divorce, matrimonial or any family law matter.