What If My Child Support Payments Are Too High?

Everyone wants to be involved with their kids’ lives, contributing to their wellbeing. Sometimes, however, life interrupts those plans, making it difficult to meet your obligations.

Child support is not meant to be a burden. At its best, it should not create a financial strain on you. You should be paying about the same amount of money on the kids as you were when you lived together.

If you are struggling to keep up with your child support payments, you can have them modified. However, doing so is more involved than simply requesting a change. You must justify the need for those changes, usually in court.

Courts are mostly interested in why you need an adjustment. If you’re unsure of whether you are eligible for a child support modification, here are some questions you can ask yourself.

Has Your Child Support Payment Always Been Too High?

If you’ve always struggled to keep up, something went wrong. The original support ruling should have considered your income along with your spouse’s income. Remember, both parents contribute to child support. The parent who lives with the children spends money on them regularly, and the other helps out with payments.

If your payments have always been too high, you can revisit the original ruling or agreement. Chances are, something went wrong in those calculations. Child support should never leave you struggling to make ends meet. Work closely with your attorney, and you may be able to help prove that your current obligations are unreasonable.

Did You Experience a Major Life Change?

Maybe you had no problem making your payments before, but circumstances have changed, and now you can’t keep up. Courts are aware of these conditions, and they have mechanisms in place to help people in your situation.

The court will not modify your payments any time your life changes, however. The changes must be significant, at least semi-permanent, and not your fault.

Here are some examples of significant life events that could alter your child support payments.

Job Changes

If you were laid off, demoted, or changed careers, you may be eligible for a modification. Keep in mind, however, that these changes cannot be your fault. If you chose a lower-paying position or were fired, the court may not have sympathy for you.

The court will also consider whether your situation is semi-permanent. Let’s say you have a specialized degree in a high-demand field. Even if you are currently unemployed, there is a good chance that you will eventually secure a new job. The court can deny a modification in situations like these.

Injuries or Health Problems

If your health, be it physical or mental, is preventing you from working, you’re going to need help just to pay your bills. It would be unfair and unreasonable to expect you to keep up with high child support payments. Such situations can justify a child support adjustment.

Having a New Child

In theory, child support is partially based on the number of children you have. That number changes when you have a new child. With a new mouth to feed, you must redistribute your resources, and you can make that case before the court.

Did Your Ex Experience a Significant Life Change?

Remember, many of the above circumstances apply to your child’s other parent. If they go through similar changes, they may need more or less support.

Here are some scenarios where your former spouse’s life could modify support.

Job Changes

If your ex loses their job or is demoted through no fault of their own, they could ask for more child support. Conversely, if they advance in their careers, you may be eligible to pay for less.


In most cases, the law assumes that marriage partners share their assets equally. Therefore, when your former spouse remarries, they are technically earning more income. This could result in a lower child support payment for you.

Getting a Child Support Modification in New York

When you cannot work with your ex, then you must appeal to the courts for a support alteration. This involves documentation and a strong argument. Make sure to work with a good attorney when taking this step.

However, if you and your former spouse are on good terms, you create a new agreement on your own. If you need a little help, mediation could benefit you. Mediators are neutral legal professionals who work for both sides of an issue. They try to meet everyone’s needs and give each side some agency over final agreements.

Our firm can help you seek a child support modification in New York. For a free consultation, call us today at (347) 378-1170 or contact us online.