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Court Rules on Adjustment of Child Support


In this case, the plaintiff is Margaret A., and Shawn B. is the defendant.

Modification of Child Support

Three circumstances entitled a person to seek an adjustment of assessed child support. The first is if a drastic change in circumstances occurs. The second is if either party’s income has changed by more than 15% since the last time the order was modified or from when it was entered. Finally, it can be challenged for modification if it has been more than three years since an order was entered on the matter.

Plaintiff’s Motion

A New York Family Lawyer said the plaintiff’s motion by Order to Show cause awards the plaintiff temporary custody of the children while the action is pending, while also requiring that the defendant assume all financial responsibility for medical costs, tuition, counsel fees, vehicle costs for the plaintiff, and that he allow the plaintiff exclusive use of their home during this time. He opposes this, but does agree to pay child support in the amount of 29% of his income to a maximum of $130,000 once he gains employment.


This couple was married in June of 2007. Three children were born during the marriage. Divorce proceedings began in December of 2010. The plaintiff was formerly employed as an esthetician, but has been a full-time mother and homemaker during the marriage. The defendant alleges that the plaintiff worked part time as an esthetician during the marriage and that she also makes money through modeling contracts. She does not appear to have earned money during the marriage.

The defendant is well educated, holding a BA from Tufts and an MBA from Harvard. Once a VP at a corporation, he lost his job in 2010 and has been looking for employment since. A New York Custody Lawyer said his severance package was combined with his salary in 2010 put his income for that year at around $300000.

The couple’s home was initially located in New Rochelle. In December of 2010 an order was issued which required the defendant to stay away from the home unless he was dropping off or picking up the children or collecting his things. This order expired in March of 2011. All actions were consolidated in one court in January, 2011.

Temporary Maintenance

When determining the amounts to be paid for temporary maintenance, several factors are considered including the family’s earnings and lifestyle during the marriage. Potential earning capacity is also considered as is the health of the family. The wasteful dissipation of marital property could cause a reduction in the amount assessed. A Queens Family Lawyer said a wide variety of other factors are also included, such as actions that one party takes which might limit the other’s earning potential. Children and the costs of their care are also of course a factor.

An important factor here is how hard the defendant has been looking for work. Although he claims that he has been seeking employment, this was not verifiable beyond his statement.

To calculate the temporary maintenance, his 2009 income was used. The court then applied a formula which arrived at a temporary maintenance cost of $6217 per month. In addition to this, another formula separately assesses the amount of child support that will be owed. This amounted to another $4207.17 per month in child support fees. A Nassau County Lawyer said the large amount of income which the defendant is losing to the plaintiff is considerable. As a result, he will get to claim the children as dependents on his taxes. However, he is also still responsible for all medical costs the children incur.

As the maintenance award has an expiration date, the child support fee will increase once it runs out. After its expiration, child support increases to $6010.17 each month.

Marital Residence

In order to deny someone use of the martial residence there must be an exhibited danger, or a relationship which is acrimonious and where domestic strife is present. This is ruled to be the case, and the plaintiff obtains use of the home for the present.


Custody will be settled by the parents working with a Family Case Analyst, and the plaintiff withdrew the application for custody. The parties are asked to not undermine each other to the children, and to avoid speaking badly about the other party in front of the children.


The defendant is also ordered to pay the amount of $5000 for counsel fees for the plaintiff.


The parties were also reminded that joint marital property may not be sold, transferred removed or in any way altered unless both parties agree to such in writing.

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