Parents in New Jersey who pay or receive child support generally understand the importance of this critical contribution. However, it is not unusual for parents to feel as though their support orders are inappropriately high or low and have questions about modification.
In this state, the courts can make regular changes to a support plan in the form of cost of living adjustments and triennial reviews. We wrote a blog post last year regarding triennial reviews and the pros and cons of requesting them, which you can read in full here. However, things change over time, and these changes don't always coincide with regular reviews. These changes, when significant, may warrant examination and modification of child support orders.
Examples of significant changes include:
- Job loss
- Promotion or other substantial increase in income
- Your child turns 19 or is emancipated, leading to support termination
- Your child enters day care or full-time school
- There is a significant change in your child's medical needs
- You or the other parent starts paying support for another child
- The balance of parenting time shifts dramatically
Situations that may not warrant modification include:
- Being in a fight with the other parent
- A single or short-term increase or decrease in income
- Voluntary decrease in income
- The parent receiving support is dating someone, but not cohabitating
- Job loss without reasonable efforts to secure a new job
When in doubt, contact a legal representative
These lists are not exhaustive nor are they absolute; every situation is different and what may be grounds for modification in one case may not be in another case. This is one reason why having attorney can be so critical as you navigate the process of child support modification.
Not only can an attorney can help you understand your options for modification, he or she can also collect, deliver and file the necessary motions and paperwork to request one.
Navigating the court system without the guidance of an attorney can be confusing and lead to costly missteps. With a legal representative by your side, you can fight to secure a fair and acceptable order for child support.