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Paul, Weiss Wins Reversal of Modification of Child Support Award for Pro Bono Client

Paul, Weiss obtained a victory on behalf of a pro bono client who had been unfairly deprived of reasonable child support when the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, reversed the Supreme Court, Kings County’s downward modification of the child support previously granted to our client.

The parties had obtained a judgment of divorce in 2017, which set child support that our client’s ex-husband owed to our client at $871.58 per month. In July 2018, our client’s ex-husband, who had not been paying the child support he owed, filed a petition in Family Court to modify child support even though the Supreme Court still had jurisdiction over any issues relating to the judgment of divorce.

In February 2019, our client moved in the Supreme Court for civil contempt for the ex-husband’s failure to pay child support, and the modification petition was transferred to the Supreme Court. In support of that petition, the ex-husband argued that he could not be held in contempt because he could no longer work and his only income was from public assistance; he sought to modify support payments to the minimum permissible amount of $25 per month and apply it retroactively. Our client maintained that her ex-husband could work and had other financial resources.

Paul, Weiss, together with our co-counsel Sanctuary for Families, sought discovery and an evidentiary hearing in support of the contempt motion and in opposition to the defendant’s modification petition. In June 2019, the court granted the requested downward modification and denied our client’s contempt motion without holding a hearing or providing any opportunity for discovery. On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed that decision, finding that issues of fact had been raised regarding the defendant’s income and that a hearing should have been held. The Appellate Division remanded the proceedings back to the Supreme Court.

The Paul, Weiss team includes litigation counsel Amy Barton and associate Samantha Weinberg, and is supervised by partner Audra Soloway.

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