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Child Support Bullet Guide (Part 9): Post-Judgement Modifications and Support Violations

businessman with money stacks It’s no secret that all aspects of family law can be difficult, and emotional.

When offering support with everything from divorce law, whatever process people choose be it divorce mediation, litigation, or negotiation. Whether it be about separation agreements or other aspects of family law, Darren Shapiro does everything he can to make the process as straightforward and pain free for his clients as possible. Part of this process is making sure that clients understand the various challenges they might face as they pursue the end of their relationship.

One particular concern for many parents is how child support will be handled after a relationship or the marriage comes to an end. Through this child support guide, Mr. Shapiro has been covering some essential components of child support, in a way that’s easy to consume for people from all backgrounds.

This component of the guide includes insights into child support order violations, and post-judgement divorce modifications.

Violations on Child Support Orders

A typical divorce in New York begins with a spouse delivering a notice of summons to another party, complete with a copy of a divorce complete and information of the subsequential lawsuit. Child support cases, outside of a divorce are often started with a petition and summons.

  • When a divorce or child support case goes to court, the authorities for the case, such as the judge or support magistrate, become responsible for determining the potential outcomes (absent an agreement). There are various factors that must be considered to determine how and whether child support should be awarded to a custodial parent. This is something that Mr. Shapiro can help his clients understand as a child custody or support lawyer.
  • When parties are ordered to pay child support, they are required to do so. If they do not pay the amount ordered, it’s possible to take the issue to court and ask the court to enforce the order. People who cannot make payments may end up in arrears.
  • Orders to pay child support as part of a divorce judgement can be enforced by the use of a violation or contempt petition issued to the supreme or family court. Usually, if jurisdiction isn’t reserved by the supreme court, both courts can address the application.
  • Most motions for contempt are brought about via an “Order to Show Cause” with the supreme court. The other party in the case must appear in court to show why the order shouldn’t be issued to punish the person refusing to pay support.
  • In family court, there is often less paperwork to consider. Petitions will be delivered detailing the violation and the court will request for the responding party to appear in court with an attorney like Mr. Shapiro, if they choose to hire an attorney, to assist them.
  • Attorneys like Mr. Shapiro who may need to defend someone from the accusation of wilfully defying a support order, the aim is often to prove that the violation was not wilful. In some cases, it’s possible to show that no violation took place. The ability to pay the order amount required is often a big issue in contempt and violation cases. Loss of employment and other conditions can make it impossible to pay what’s owed.
Managing Support Order Issues

Sometimes, when a parent is not able to pay the amount ordered by the court for child support, or refused to follow an order, a hearing will be necessary. If the courts determines that there is a wilful violation in place, they’ll often require the unpaid support to be paid immediately, along with other retribution amounts and fees. Income deduction orders can also be issued in this case.

  • The courts may send parties to suspend an individual’s professional licenses or driving licenses until a payment has been fully made. In the case of a wilful violation, the court may order up to 6 months in prison too in cases of contempt or wilful violations.
  • If a modification request is filed because a person cannot pay what is owed, it may be determined that adjustments should be made to the court order. Modifications can be sought in cases where significant changes have occurred to the income of the person (such as 15% or more) and other reasons.
  • The courts of New York can dictate that there must be a significant change in the circumstances of a person before they can modify the terms of a child support order. Requests to modify orders are only considered when the change in circumstance is deemed significant. A change may also be considered if three or more years have passed since the last order, or the income of the party has changed by 15% or more. The parties to a case can opt out of the reasons to modify orders going forward.
  • If the paying party loses their job, or experiences a sudden change in income, it may be crucial to take the order back to the court to determine what can be fair in the new circumstances. Although the courts must always put the best interests of the children first in these case, Mr. Shapiro reminds his clients that they are also obligated to avoid unnecessary hardship on either party.
  • If a change is issued to the child support order because of a change in a person’s income, and that person’s income also changes again in the future, an opposing party can request a modification to the new support order again.

If you have any issues with your child support order, or you want to discuss one of the topics mentioned above, please reach out to Mr. Shapiro for an initial consultive appointment. The consultation session you book is free for up to the first thirty minutes for new clients.

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