For many people, the only constant in life is change. Once you were married; now you are divorced. Your children were once infants; they are now in school, and in a few years will be old enough to drive.

As time goes on, people’s economic situation often changes as well. When the court ordered them to pay child support, the judge examined the parent’s financial situation at that point in time to determine how much they could afford to pay.

That may have been true then, but could very well no longer be the case several years later. Many people have experienced layoffs or other job loss in recent years. They may have found a new job, but often at a lower income than they used to earn. In other cases, the parent paying support has had other children in the meantime, and must spend a great deal of their income taking care of them.

Fortunately, child support orders are not set in stone until the children turn 18. Parents have the ability to ask the court to modify the order, either up or down, to reflect current financial realities.

A New York State parent who is paying child support and loses their job is required to notify the local child support office. They can also file a petition to modify the support order, either by mail or online.

This is not the only reason one can ask for a modification, though the court will not grant it if doing so will put the children in a perilous financial state. A family law attorney can help assess your case and file for the modification.