What is the significance in a divorce settlement agreement of the parents’ decision to apply the child support formula to all of the parents’ income in excess of the statutory “cap?” How will such an agreement affect a subsequent modification proceeding?
Such was the issue addressed in last week’s decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Matter of Monaco v. Monaco, 2023 NY Slip Op 01091, 2023 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1093, 2023 WL 2290584 (2nd Dept. 2023).
The parties were married in 1996 and have three children. In 2013, the parties executed a stipulation of settlement that was incorporated but not merged into their judgment of divorce. The agreement fixed the father’s biweekly child support obligation at $1,618.02. In doing so, the parties had agreed to apply the 29% Child Support Standards Act (C.S.S.A.) statutory percentage to their total combined parental income of $185,980.
In September 2020, the father filed a petition seeking a downward modification and the mother filed a petition for an upward modification. By order dated December 3, 2021, Support Magistrate Darlene Jorif-Mangane granted the father’s petition. The Magistrate found that the parties’ combined parental income was $251,708.46 and exceeded the then statutory cap of $154,000.00. The father’s child support obligation on the combined parental income up to the statutory cap was the sum of $1,220.00 biweekly for 3 children, and $1,051.00 biweekly for 2 children [1 child having been emancipated prior to the hearing].Continue Reading The effect of divorce settlement agreements on child support modification proceedings