In New York, a parent’s child support obligation ends when the child either turns 21 or is emancipated. A child under 21 can be considered emancipated if they join the military, get married, or they are at least 18 years old and have a full time self-supporting job. Either can file for an upward or downward modification of their current child support orders. However, there are only certain circumstances in which the court will consider awarding a modification:
1. There has been a substantial change in circumstances. The court may modify an order if there has been a significant change in the cost of raising a child, the child’s specific needs, or a parent’s income.
2. Three years have passed since the court orders were entered or previously modified. Either parent can file for modification if three years have elapsed; the court may also review each party’s income after 3 years to recalculate support.
3. Either party has experienced an involuntary change in their gross income. If either parent’s income has increased or decreased by 15% since the order was last modified or entered, the court may allow for a modification.
In certain situations, child support may be extended beyond the age of 21. Under New York Domestic Relations Law § 240-D, a parent can be required to continue paying child support, if their child has a developmental disability, until they turn 26 years old.