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Party Seeks Credit of Child Support for Education Expenses


KG v G

NY Slip Op 04278

Pursuant to Section 50011 of the Rules, this case was affirmed with costs. Much like the appellate opinion and in consideration of a substantial downward departure from support set out in the Child Support Standards Act, this court can’t say the Supreme Court was in error. Before incorporating the party’s agreement into a judgement, it addressed the provision in question in the framework of a larger agreement and each of the party’s respective finances in a way that secured adequate child support for each child, as the parties originally intended (Domestic Relations Law 240 (1-b[h]). Judges Difiore, Fahey, Rivera, Wilson and Feinman concur. Judge Stien offered his dissent and Judge Garcia agrees.

In his dissenting opinion, Judge Stein said that the Stipulation of Settlement and Agreement is considered a contract which is subject to the principles of contract construction and interpretation (see Meccio v Meccio 76 NY2d 823-824 [1990]. Judge Stien agreed with the dissenting judges of the Appellate Division in that the very clear language in the agreement between the parties allows the defendant to recover a credit on his child support for the amount of money he pays for the child’s education including room and board (149 AD3d 422, 426, 427 [Andrias]. Judge Stein continued that in his view the Supreme Court’s argument that the child would be inadequately supported if the agreement was enforced literally by how it was written due to public policy concerns and was while speculative.  These reasons didn’t justify the court’s decision pursuant to Domestic Relations Law 240 (1-b)(h).

In addition, the court incorrectly changed a provision of a heavily negotiated agreement without considering the settlement as a whole. He concluded that he would reverse and remit the case for further analysis.

In New York, after the final child support order is entered, either party can seek a modification of child support under several different circumstances.

Generally, there are three reasons:

A Substantial Change in Circumstances: If there has been a significant change in the cost of raising a child, the court can reduce or increase the amount of child support.

Three Years has Passed: Once 3 years has passed, a parent can seek a decrease or increase in child support.

There has Been an Involuntary Change of Income of 15% or More: If either party has experienced a significant change in income, the court has the authority to modify support.

It is important to note that if a party needs to make a modification to child support they act promptly. The process can take a length of time, and the modification will not be retroactive.

Contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. We can address your concerns and develop a game plan moving forward. We have locations in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County. Call us today at 1-800-NYNYLAW.


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