Child Support Modification in New Jersey
Do You Need to Change Your Child Support Agreement? Get Help from Our Child Support Modification Lawyers.
It isn’t unusual for financial and other situations to change for parents who pay and receive child support. When circumstances change significantly, either parent, whether receiving or paying, may pursue to also change child support. You can’t ask for a change for just any reason, though. Your situation must have changed significantly since the original order was put in place. To be considered a significant change, the change must be substantial and not known about when the original order was put in place.
If you need to change your child support agreement, Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC can help. Our experienced New Jersey child support lawyers understand the factors the court will consider in changing orders. When you trust us to help you get your support order modified, we will work diligently on your behalf. If the other parent is the one seeking to have an order modified and you don’t agree, we will stand up for you, too.
Call us at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a consultation with one of our child support modification lawyers in Bergen County.
How Do I Modify a Child Support Agreement in New Jersey?
Before seeking a modification order with the court, it is a good idea to try and negotiate directly with the other parent, as the judge may expect that you have tried to work it out on your own first if you do end up in a hearing. If your relationship is too acrimonious for direct negotiations, your respective attorneys may be able to help you arrive at agreement. If you can reach agreement between yourselves and/or with the help of your child support modification lawyers, you can present your new child support agreement to the court for filing; Once you sign the agreement, it is a contract, but with the Court stamping it filed, it will also become an official court order!
Can’t Agree? File a Petition to Modify Child Support
If you can’t come to agreement through negotiations, you will have to file a request with the court to modify child support. If you are the parent asking for the modification, you will be responsible for explaining your changed circumstances to the judge and convincing the judge that the change is so significant that it requires the current child support arrangement to be changed. You should be prepared to discuss your current income and how it is different than what it was before. Or, maybe the change has nothing to do with financials. Maybe there was a change in custody from one parent to the other; maybe daycare costs previously included in the first child support order no longer exists; maybe the health insurance costs for the child changed from parent to parent or the price of same increased, or maybe the number of overnights one parent was supposed to exercise is more or less than what it was supposed to be. There are many reasons that you may need to at least revisit, if not recalculate, child support.
Regardless, if you are successful, the court will require the other parent to provide their current financial information. Both you and the other parent will appear before the judge in a hearing to present your evidence as to why the modification should or should not be approved. Once the judge has reviewed all the facts involved, including determining whether it is in the child’s best interests, they will approve or disapprove the modification request.
Get Help from Experienced Child Support Modification Lawyers
While you are not required to have legal assistance to modify a child support agreement, you stand a better chance of a successful result with the help of an attorney.
As the New Jersey family court points out in its own post-judgment motion packet, which is the paperwork you will need to fill out for a support modification,
“The law, the proofs necessary to present your case, and the procedural rules governing cases in the Family Division are complex. It is recommended that you make every effort to obtain the assistance of a lawyer.”
Call our child support modification attorney to arrange a consultation at (201) 880-9770.
What Are Reasons to Modify Child Support?
Grounds for Child Support Modification
How much a parent pays in child support is first determined by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and other factors the judge finds relevant. To modify child support payments, there must have been a substantial change in the circumstances of parents since the last order. Here are possible grounds for child support modification:
- A change in custody arrangements
- A significant decrease or increase in income of a parent
- Serious illness of a parent or child
- Disability of a parent
- Loss of a home
- Responsibility for additional children.
- Increase or decrease (or termination) of daycare expenses for the children
- Increase or decrease (or termination) of health insurance costs for the children
- Increase or decrease in the number of overnights one parent exercises
Every situation is different, and there may be other reasons for asking for a modification. Once we learn about your case, we will advise you about whether you may have a viable reason to ask for a decrease or increase in support payments.
How Hard is it to Modify Child Support?
The answer to this question is that it depends upon your situation. If parents agree, the process can be fairly simple with just writing up a consent order and having both parents sign it and then submitting same to the Court to convert it into a Court Order. \. But if parents are in conflict about a modification, then, not surprisingly, it becomes much harder. Both parents will probably have to hire attorneys to guide them through the legal process and represent them in court. You will have to face your former spouse or partner in the hearing, which can be uncomfortable and stressful. And you will have to describe to the judge why the change is or is not necessary and is or is not in your child’s best interests and provide evidence to that effect.
At Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC, we will do everything we can to make modifying child support as stress-free as possible for your situation. Contact our Hackensack law firm to arrange a time to speak with us about a child support modification by calling (201) 880-9770.
Child Support Modification Lawyers Answer FAQs
Following are some general answers to common questions about child support modifications. For specific information based on your individual situation, contact our law firm.
How soon after the original child support order can I request a modification?
You can request a modification if circumstances have changed significantly since the previous order. There is no specific amount of time you must wait. You must be able to prove that the facts that were in place for the purposes of calculating the amount of the last order have now changed. In other words, it must be something new that evolved since the prior order or arrangement was implemented.
Can a modification to child support be retroactive?
Child support orders are retroactive only to the time when the modification motion was filed, or the other parent was informed and formally notified about an impending motion, as described in state statute N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23a:
“No payment … shall be retroactively modified except with respect to the period during which there is a pending application for modification, but only from the date the notice of motion was mailed either directly or through the appropriate agent. The written notice will state that a change of circumstances has occurred and a motion for modification of the order will be filed within 45 days. In the event a motion is not filed within the 45-day period, modification shall be permitted only from the date the motion is filed with the court.”
Do I have to file for a child support modification to get a cost-of-living adjustment?
No. Under New Jersey Rule 5:6B Cost of Living Adjustments for Child Support Orders, cost-of-living adjustments are made automatically every two years if child support is being paid through the child support probation department; if you are paying directly and your agreement is silent as to this, then there is no automatic COLA increase. The adjustments are based on the average change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the state. Both parents will be notified before the adjustment takes place. The paying parent can contest the adjustment if his or her income hasn’t increased at the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI, and must do so within 30 days of the mailing of the adjustment notice. If you are a paying parent who has received notice of a cost-of-living adjustment and you have concerns, don’t wait to contact our law firm.
Can I have my child support order modified if I think my ex-spouse is using the money for her own benefit?
If it can be proven that your ex-spouse is using the money for her own benefit and not your child’s needs, you may be able to get your child support order modified. However, since receiving parents don’t have to show how they are spending child support money, it can be hard to prove they are not using it appropriately. If you are suspicious about inappropriate use of the money you are paying, consider speaking with a child support modification lawyer from our firm. Maybe we can get creative to address your concerns in this regard and ensure your child is being properly cared for financially. If we can prove your suspicions, we may be able to help you have your order recalculated. Call us for help at (201) 880-9770.
Contact Our New Jersey Child Support Lawyers for Help
We believe most parents want what is best for their children and are willing to pay what it takes to ensure that their children maintain an appropriate living standard. We also know that there are very real circumstances that arise that can make it necessary to reduce child support payments. If you need to decrease payments, or if you are seeking an increase, we can help you.
When Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC takes your case, whether you are asking for a child support modification or need to defend against a requested modification, , we will advocate aggressively to get you the best outcome for your family. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a consultation by calling us at (201) 880-9770. We assist divorced parents and parents who have never been married who need child support modifications