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Downward Modification of Child Support Denied

Downward Modification of Child Support DeniedIn a case in Suffolk County, New York, before Judge Paul Hensley who sits in the Family Court a father objected to an order made by a Support Magistrate that dismissed his petition for a downward modification of child support. The father presented arguments that the Support Magistrate made a mistake in dismissing his claim due to a substantial change in circumstances. He had been laid off from his job and he was unemployed for a period of over a year.

Child Support Payments

The Judgment of Divorce set a child support payment obligation of $2,000.00 per month. The agreement laid out documentation that the proper amount of the child support obligation was approximately $2,900.00 per month. However, the settlement agreement and the Judgment of Divorce showed the parties opted out of Family Court Act Section 451(3) and both parties agreed to the lesser amount of child support of $2,000.00 per month.

The Judge’s Decision

Judge Paul Hensley in his decision found the father had the burden of proving after the order of consent was entered the father involuntarily lost his job. The father had to thereafter prove he made diligent efforts to obtain a similar job. Judge Hensley, after reviewing the court record, found there was sufficient evidence showing the father did not prove the 2 elements of his claim for a downward modification. His objections (which amount to an appeal) of the decision dismissing his downward modification of support was denied.

Conclusion

Fathers have to be careful when they bring applications to reduce their child support because they have lost their job. Coming into court and saying I was laid off and I couldn’t find another job is simply insufficient. Substantial documentary evidence must be presented with regard to both being laid off and diligent efforts to obtain other employment. If the father does not meet his burden he will be unsuccessful in reducing his child support even if he is still unemployed.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a father’s rights lawyer who has been representing fathers throughout the Metropolitan New York area in child support, child custody, visitation cases and divorces for more than 40 years.  Should you need guidance with regard to marital or family issues feel free to contact the law firm of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP at 800-344-6431 or you can e-mail Elliot Schlissel at Elliot@sdnylaw.com for a free consultation.