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Court Reviews Request to Modify Child Support

In this case, Nina Luca was the plaintiff and Dominick Luca the defendant.

History

Dominick Luca originally requested a lowering of his ordered child support payments. His circumstances have allegedly changed which requires a reassessment based on the CSSA regulations. He also requested a modification or dismissal of an agreement regarding the dispersal of property. He also requested that a divorce judgment be set aside based on the modification of the property agreement. Finally, he required that he was paid by the plaintiff in the amount of $101,687 based on the terms of the agreement regarding the sale of their former home.

These cross motions were filed by the plaintiff. She sought to have the applications dismissed, wanted a hearing to determine attorney fees and other relief if deemed necessary. A motion was also made to move the Family Court Proceeding being conducted between the two parties to the Supreme Court so it could be consolidated with the instant matter.

A New York Family Lawyer said that on December of 2006 the property settlement agreement (PSA) between the two laid out the terms of the divorce, which was formally granted on March of 2007. The couple has two children together.

Child Support

The original PSA showed that the plaintiff had no income and the defendant earned $80,000 per year. However, a suffering economy resulted in a loss of 50% of the profits in his business, which is why he sought a reduction in the initially agreed upon child support payments of $2500 per month. His tax returns show a gross annual income in 2007 of $39347, and other documentation shows a much lower income than previously, as well as the suffering state of his business.

Next, the defendant pointed out how the plaintiff’s life situation has changed. She now works and lives with a boyfriend who pays for much of their living expenses. In addition, one child is college-aged and living at school which is paid for through scholarships. a Queens Family Lawyer said the plaintiff maintains that the downward modification should not be granted because the defendant didn’t properly prove his income in 2006. He countered that this was not needed due to the PSA. However, his financial evidence was not specific, comprehensive or verifiable enough to show that circumstances had changed enough to warrant a reduction in child support payments, so this motion was denied.

Modification of the PSA

The defendant recognized that plenary action and not instant orders to show cause were required for this section of his motion. He subsequently withdrew this portion.

Divorce Enforcement

The plaintiff argued that the original PSA incorrectly stated the agreed upon distribution of the funds that would be available after the sale of the couple’s home. However, both parties were represented by lawyers and signed off on the initial PSA, so there is not sufficient cause for believing that this was created incorrectly or that terms other than those outlined in the initial agreement should be enforced. A Staten Island Family Lawyer said the distribution of funds that came from the sale of the home were, in reality, distributed in the reverse of the percentages as outlined in the agreement. As a result, a back payment of $57,413.90 was owed to the defendant after all applicable fees and deductions had been made.

Plaintiff’s Motion
This was denied based on the judgments already reached on the matters of the divorce enforcement and child support payment adjustments.

Attorney’s Fees

In order to be awarded attorney’s fees, the plaintiff was required to submit a signed copy of the written agreement struck between the counsel and the client and a net worth statement. These documents were not properly submitted, so the motion was denied.

Final Ruling

The final distribution of the funds owed to the defendant must be held until the amount of money owed in late child support payments is calculated.

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