After a separation or divorce, life keeps moving forward. For many, it can feel like the start of a new chapter. You are likely to go on and build new relationships. You may even end up having more kids. With changes in circumstances, such as a new child, you may wonder how that can impact something like child support obligations in regards to your child or children from a previous relationship. Here, we will address if and how having another child can impact child support obligations.
I Had Another Child, Can I Get Child Support Reduced?
First and foremost, it must be made clear that having another child will not, in and of itself, automatically lead to a reduction in a child support obligation. You will need to take action in order to have your child support obligation modified. It will not be reduced just because you had another child. If your situation merits it, you will need to take concerted steps to have your child support agreement modified to reflect your current circumstances.
It is interesting to note that, previously, New York prescribed to the common law approach when it came to additional children impacting an existing child support order. Pursuant to common law, New York did not recognize having a new child as a valid basis for modifying an existing child support order. This was justified through the reasoning that there was a primary duty to support children from a previous relationship and it was the person’s choice if he or she decided to go on to another relationship and have more kids.
Through the evolution in New York law, New York courts presently recognize that, while there is a duty to act in the best interest of the children’s best interest that is referenced in an existing child support order, the needs of the new child should not be ignored. This is why New York courts now recognize that having a new child can be considered as a substantial change in circumstance that could potentially merit a change in a child support order. This is commonly a factor considered when the custodial parent requests an increase in support from the payor parent who has a new child. It is also becoming more frequently recognized as a valid point to consider in modification petitions where the parent with the new child is requesting a reduction in an established child support order.
Before you petition for a modification of an existing child support order, you should know that a judge may look at your income and, should this circumstance apply, your new spouse’s income as well. Under the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA), which dictates how courts are to award child support), a judge can consider a modification request due to a new child only in the event that the available resources to support the new child are less than those resources available to support the child or children from a previous relationship. To put it another way, your modification request will only move forward if the combined income of you and your new spouse is either greater than or equal to the combined income of you and your former partner.
Family Law Attorneys
Child support issues can be complex and become even more complicated as life circumstances change. At CDH Law, our trusted family law attorneys can answer your questions. Contact us today.