Child Support Lowered for Unemployed Parent

Downward Modification

After a hearing before a Support Magistrate in the Orange County Family Court, Andrew Proto, a partner at the law firm of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP convinced the Support Magistrate to lower the non-custodial parent (father's) child support obligation due to his unemployment status.

At the hearing evidence was presented that the father lost his job, his income decreased and the father could not find other employment to meet his child support obligation. The payments were decreased from approximately $800.00 a month to $100.00 month.

The Support Magistrate found a substantial change in circumstances since the last child support Order that made the modification of that Order necessary and proper. The Support Magistrate also terminated the father's child support obligation as the child was recently emancipated.

Objections to Support Magistrate's Decision

The mother (custodial parent) objected to the Support Magistrates decision and appealed the decision to a Judge of the Orange County Family Court. After written submissions the Family Court Judge denied the mother's request to reinstate child support and increase child support back to the $800.00 per month and found that the Support Magistrate's decision was proper.

The Orange County Family Court Judge found that a "substantial" deterioration in the financial situation of the party seeking modification between the time of the Order and the time of a modification is sought may, in some instances, constitute a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a downward modification. The father met his burden and the Support Magistrate was correct to lower his child support obligation.

Lastly, the Family Court Judge found that the Support Magistrate is in the best position to make a decision regarding the modification of child support.

The mother's objections were denied.

Child Support Modification

In the event of a change in income an application to modify child support should be made as soon as possible with sufficient proof to present to the Court to justify a downward modification.