Rapaport Law Firm, PLLC
A New York Divorce Attorney's Thoughts on NY Matrimonial and Family Law
Marc Rapaport has 19 years of experience handling New York family law matters. Marc is the founder and principal of Rapaport Law Firm PLLC, a matrimonial law firm in Manhattan's Empire State Building. We hope that this blog provides you with an informative discussion of New York family law. If you are looking for a divorce lawyer in New York City, call for a free telephone consultation: ph (212) 382-1600.
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Court January 21, 2013

TOUGH LUCK! NEW YORK COURT RULES THAT LOSS OF JOB IS NOT GROUNDS FOR REDUCTION OF CHILD SUPPORT OR MAINTENANCE


Posted by Marc Rapaport

New York State's Fourth Department recently sent a stern message to those who are unemployed: "Don't expect relief from your support obligations if you were terminated due to your own misconduct." 

In Marcera v. Marcera, the Fourth Department held that a father could not be released from spousal support obligations, nor could he be required to pay a mere $25 a month in child support, when that father was unemployed due to his own wrongdoing.  87 A.D.3d 1276 (4th Dept. 2011).  "To the extent that defendant's financial hardship is the result of his own wrongful conduct," the Court wrote, "he is not entitled to a reduction in his obligation to pay child support, nor is he entitled to evade his obligation to pay maintenance."  Id.

A petition for downward modification of child support is particularly unlikely to succeed if the payer parent lost their job "for cause".  If a court finds that a party was terminated due to his or her own misconduct, it is very likely that the court will refuse to consider any request for downward modification.  In short, one cannot benefit from his or her own transgressions. 

In addition, a payer seeking a reduction of child support must also demonstrate that he or she has made diligent efforts to find new employment.  In the case Greene v. Hanson, 100 A.D.3d 1558 (4th Dept. 2012), the court ruled that the payer-father failed to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that would justify a downward modification of his support obligation because he presented no evidence establishing that he diligently sought re-employment commensurate with his former employment. 

The decisions in Marcera and Greene reflect a trend among New York courts to impose an onerous evidentiary burden upon payers who seek to reduce their child support obligations as a result of disruptions in employment.

By:  Marc A. Rapaport and Dennis Groves
All Rights Reserved
Rapaport Law Firm, PLLC
http://www.rapaportlaw.com

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RAPAPORT LAW FIRM, PLLC.
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MARC RAPAPORT IS A NEW YORK DIVORCE ATTORNEY WITH MORE THAN 18 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. HE IS A CONTRIBUTOR TO NEW YORK MAGAZINE'S "ASK THE EXPERTS" COLUMN, AND HE REGULARLY APPEARS IN THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL MEDIA REGARDING NY DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW. IF YOU ARE FACING DIVORCE, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU RETAIN AN EXPERIENCED NY DIVORCE LAWYER. FOR AN APPOINTMENT, CALL THE RAPAPORT LAW FIRM TODAY: (212) 382-1600 or EMAIL MR. RAPAPORT.
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