For noncustodial parents in New York State, the requirement that they pay child support to the custodial parent is an important issue in family law and divorce. The amount they are ordered to pay will be deemed sufficient to provide for the child and the custodial parent’s needs and to meet the child’s best interests. However, it is not unusual for noncustodial parents to want to modify what they are paying. It is also possible that the amount due will be changed because of a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Understanding the details about these issues is critical.

The noncustodial parent can request a modification by filling out a form. For it to be approved, it is required that the person show there was a “substantial change in circumstances.” It can also be modified if it became effective on or after Oct. 13, 2010 and one of the following factors are in place: it has been three years since the order went into effect, was changed, or altered; the gross income of the noncustodial or custodial parent has changed by at least 15 percent since it went into effect, was changed or altered; the noncustodial parent is incarcerated.

Regarding the COLA, this too can warrant a change in child support. The following two factors must be in place for a change due to COLA: the order must be a minimum of two years old; the amount in the percentage change for the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers must be equal to or more than 10 percent. The amount that must be paid will change according to the increase in COLA. If COLA changes by 12 percent, the child support will change by 12 percent.

Child support is a frequent issue up for dispute in a New York family law case. For noncustodial parents, it can be problematic to make the payments in full and on time not because they do not want to, but because they are unable to. Seeking a modification requires that certain criteria are met, but it can be done. Having legal advice and guidance from a family law and divorce lawyer can help with the modification.