In a recent post, we discussed New York child support agreements and how the parties to a divorce may be able to agree to the payment and amount of child support rather than have the court make that determination. We also discussed a situation in which the court was likely to set aside a child support agreement. This week, we will take a more in-depth look into how courts view New York child support agreements.
As a general matter, a properly drafted New York child support agreement will remain enforceable over time. However, in reality, circumstances and relationships change, and it is not uncommon for either party to an agreement to ask the court to modify or set aside the agreement if they believe that it is no longer fair to them or to the children subject to the agreement.
The default law (for support orders made nowadays), unless people opt out of them is that either party to a child support order may seek to modify it: every three years; if income changes by 15% or more; or there has otherwise been a substantial change of circumstances. The parties to a properly drafted and executed written stipulation may opt of those first two reasons. If people have opted out of the default reasons to modify the agreement or the order predated the 2010 child support law, then the Courts will only grant a party’s request for an upward modification (meaning an increase in the child support obligation) if the requesting party can establish one of three circumstances:
- When it appears that the needs of the child are not being met;
- There has been an unanticipated change in circumstances, as well as a showing by the moving party that there is a need for modification; or
- The agreement was unfair or inequitable when it was made.