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Husband Seeks a Downward Modification of Child Support


New York Family Lawyer said in accordance with a separation agreement, the husband was obligated to pay $750 per month to the wife as child support for the two infant of their marriage. The couple was granted a conversion divorce and the separation agreement was incorporated but not merged into the judgment.

In February 1985 the husband moved in Nassau County Supreme Court for a downward modification of child support and the wife moved in the same court for enforcement of the judgment and arrears. In settlement of both motions, a so ordered stipulation was entered in Nassau County Supreme Court which determined an allocation of the proceeds upon the sale of the marital premises. The stipulation was read into the record and commenced that both of the proceedings presently before the Court based upon the wife’s application seeking various forms of enforcement relief against the husband, and husband’s application for a downward modification of child support obligation are hereby settled on terms and conditions. It is noted that, pursuant to the terms of the stipulation and settlement, the former marital residence was sold and the husband received the sum of approximately $50,000 from the proceeds, the wife received in excess of $100,000 and the sum of $38,000 was placed in an escrow account to secure the future payment of child support.

A New York Divorce Lawyer said in August 28, 1985, the husband again sought to reduce his child support payments, this in the Family Court of Nassau County, and the matter was referred to a Hearing Examiner.

A Staten Island Family Lawyer said that although the Hearing Examiner explicitly acknowledged that she had no authority to review the change of financial circumstances prior to the May 30, 1985, stipulation was entered in Nassau County Supreme Court, she nonetheless permitted testimony to be adduced at the hearing that the wife’s income had substantially increased from $3,000 in 1983, to $23,000 in 1985, whereas the husband’s income had decreased from $33,000 in 1982 to $16,255 in 1985. Based upon these figures, including the period prior to the date of the stipulation, an order dated November 26, 1985, was entered March 7, 1986, in the Family Court, Nassau County, reducing the husband’s child support obligations from $750 per month to $70 per week. In an order of the same court, the petitioner’s objections were denied and the Hearing Examiner’s order was continued based upon an evaluation of the parties’ changed financial circumstances from the period from 1983 to 1985. It is reversed.

A Queens Family Lawyer said that although the terms of a separation agreement may be modified upon a showing of a change in the financial circumstances of the parties together with the changing needs of the, it is well established that in reviewing the changed financial status of the parties, the courts may only consider changes from the date of the last petition for modification. Prior to the instant application dated August 28, 1985, for a downward modification of child support, the respondent made an earlier application in February 1985 in the Nassau County Supreme Court to determine the propriety of the support provisions. Both the husband’s downward modification application and the wife’s motion for enforcement were heard together, and both were settled by the stipulation dated May 30, 1985, in the Nassau County Supreme Court. The stipulation settled the husband’s application for downward modification of child support for the period up to and including May 30, 1985. When the husband applied to the Family Court on August 28, 1985, for downward modification, the Hearing Examiner apparently failed to consider the consequences of the May 30, 1985, stipulation and decided the application based on evidence of the parties’ financial status prior to May 30, 1985. Since the husband’s application for downward modification had been previously resolved by the May 30, 1985, stipulation, he was collaterally estopped from re-litigating the issue, and the Family Court was obligated to limit itself to an evaluation of the change of the financial circumstances of the parties subsequent to the May 30, 1985, stipulation.

Losing custody of your children does not mean the right to neglect your obligation towards them. If your partner denies you and your children of the rightful child support, ask the Nassau County Family Lawyer together with the Nassau County Child Support Attorney to represent you in court. Stephen Bilkis and Associates can also offer the services of the Nassau County Child Custody Lawyer and the Nassau County Spousal Support Attorney if you need one.

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