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In New Jersey, child support is intended to meet a child’s basic necessities and is largely based on the parents’ incomes. If a child’s needs or a parent’s financial circumstances change, it may be necessary to adjust the support.
Importantly, parents can agree to modify a New Jersey child support order without going to court. If they cannot agree, they may ask a judge to change child support, or in some cases terminate it. A Livingston child support modification lawyer at our firm could help calculate the correct child support amount and either negotiate an agreement with the other parent or present the case to a child support hearing officer.
A parent seeking a child support modification must show a permanent and unanticipated change in circumstances since the last child support order. Examples of changes that may warrant a support adjustment include:
A New Jersey judge or a hearing officer has the discretion to determine whether the changed circumstances are substantial enough to justify modifying child support. If a parent is no longer able to work and does not have any other income sources, their payment obligation could be terminated. An experienced lawyer could counsel a parent on what factors will be considered at a hearing and how likely the court is to change their child support amount.
With the help of a local attorney, either parent may file a request with the court to increase or decrease child support payments. If a judge or hearing officer determines that the changes warrant a support adjustment, they will use the New Jersey child support guidelines to calculate the new amount. The burden of proving an unanticipated change in circumstances is on the parent requesting the change.
Child support payments automatically terminate in New Jersey when the child reaches age 19 or is otherwise emancipated. Additionally, if a parent paying child support becomes disabled or has no income, a judge could terminate that parent’s child support obligation. It is important to note that a parent’s lack of income must be through no fault of their own. For example, parents who decide to quit their job to stay home and raise other children might not qualify for termination of support.
Under New Jersey Supreme Court Rule 5:6B, all child support orders entered or enforced after September 1, 1990, are eligible for an upward adjustment every two years to reflect New Jersey’s cost of living changes. The adjustment will go into effect if neither party objects within 30 days of receiving notice of the increase.
A parent may also seek a child support review once every three years without showing a change in circumstances, under New Jersey Statutes Annotated 2A §17-56.9. The state will notify the parents if their support obligations change.
However, a parent could oppose either of these proposed adjustments for several reasons. For example, they could argue that the revised support amount is not correct under the child support guidelines or that their income did not increase at a rate at least equal to the New Jersey cost of living increase. A Livingston child support modification lawyer could file an objection on behalf of a parent and assist them in a child support hearing.
If you pay or receive child support and your circumstances have significantly changed, it might be time for an adjustment in your arrangement. A Livingston child support modification lawyer could assess the developments in your life, calculate a new support amount using the New Jersey guidelines, and represent you in family court hearings. Call our firm today to discuss your options with a well-informed attorney.