Like every other state, New York requires parents to support their children, which is why child support orders are an essential part of every divorce settlement agreement. These orders are intended to address everyone’s needs at the time Still, if you or your former spouse experiences a significant change in circumstances later, like remarriage and a new child, then the affected party may be able to request a modification of your original support agreement.
New York Family Court Act section 413 outlines the factors that family courts must take into account when ordering child support. Once the court makes a determination, a support order remains in effect until one of you petitions to change it based on a significant change in either parent’s circumstances. Common grounds include:
- A parent loses a job.
- A parent becomes disabled.
- A parent gets a promotion or a new job that increases their income.
- The needs of the child have changed: for example, they are diagnosed with an intellectual disability.
One question that often arises is whether support payments will be affected if the parent paying support has a child with a new partner or spouse. With a new baby to take care of, will your ex be allowed to pay less child support to you for the benefit of your children? The answer is: possibly.
If you are receiving child support and your spouse marries someone who already has children, then the support order likely won’t be affected because under New York law, step-parents generally have no obligation to support their step-children. However, if your ex has a baby with their new spouse, then the needs of this child can be grounds for deviating from the guideline child support amount, but only if the financial resources available to support the child are less than those available to support the children from the prior marriage.
Just because it can doesn’t mean it will, though. It’s not a straightforward situation. The income of the paying parent’s new spouse may or may not be taken into account when determining whether the paying parent’s child support obligation can be reduced. While some states have guidelines that address this issue, in New York, cases tend to be decided on an individual basis.
The question of child support obligations after remarriage, especially when children result from the new relationship, is a complicated one that requires assistance from an experienced New York child support attorney. If you are currently paying or receiving child support and you believe that a modification is appropriate, then an attorney will help you take the appropriate steps to make changes that are as fair as possible to everyone involved.
Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York family court lawyer handling child support and family court cases. If you are seeking child support, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office at 718-329-9500. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person initial consultations. Learn more at mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/divorce/child-support/.