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Is it possible to have the Child Support Standards Act: Combined Parental Income Cap override an existing CS agreement?

Glen Head, NY |

I am the non-Custodial Parent.
1. I signed the current agreement under duress (unemployed and threatened with legal costs).
2. Custodial Parent makes 3x my salary (non-custodial parent).
3. Custodial Parent makes sufficient income, well over $200k annually.
4. Custodial Parent has repeatedly shown she does not need the extra income by delaying check cashing by months.
5. Children (2) spend 24% of their time with the non-custodial parent and DO NOT enjoy the same quality of living with me.
6. Extreme debt incurred by non-Custodial parent due to 2.5 years of unemployment, so no money is available for regular child support or for the children when with non-custodial parent.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Unfortunately, most of the things you listed are not relevant. I am assuming you signed a separation agreement that was incorporated into a judgment of divorce. If you signed the agreement before October 2010, in order to modify your child support you need to prove them that has been an unanticipated change of circumstances. This is a high burden. If you signed it after that and did not opt out of the new law, you just need to show a substantial change of circumstances. However, you should be aware that the court will order 25% of your income (or your ability to earn) less FICA and medicare taxes unless it finds its unjust (almost never happens). If you were unemployed when you signed the agreement and you are now working, its possible your child support could increase. Consult with a local attorney before doing anything. Good luck.



Thanks. We are currently arguing of an ambiguous section regarding the calculation of child support and didn't know what I should be pursuing. I had read that when the combined parental income exceeds the $136k that the court should not apply the statutory formula, but should consider the ACTUAL needs of the children. When are fathers going to get rights in NY? Ex-wives go on vacations and father's live hand to mouth.

Lori Noel Bovee

Lori Noel Bovee


The CSSA is gender neutral. The court has discretion to determine whether to apply the CSSA percentage for the amount of parental income over the cap or to appy a different amount, but the CSSA percentage will still apply to the amount under the cap. Take your agreement to an attorney to review it and determine whether its subject to attack.


Unless a reason acceptable to the court is given for deviating from the child support standards act, the courts do not have to abide by the agreement. Speak to your lawyer about an ammendment that the courts will accept.

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I agree with the first attorney regarding the standards to modify child support. You should consider whether filing a downward modification would be helpful and whether you can meet the standard. You should consult with a lawyer before you fall behind on payments because that will only make your situation much worse.

Best Regards,
Morghan Leia Richardson, Esq.
Divorce Mediator and Attorney
Richardson Legal PLLC
31-08 Broadway, Suite 204
Astoria, New York 11106
Tel: 212-537-6744
Fax: 212-574-3337

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