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As years go by, it is not uncommon for child support orders to become untenable or no longer serve the best interest of a child. However, anyone who wants to change the terms of a child support order must petition a court and receive approval, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement amongst themselves. Failure to pay existing obligations could result in serious legal repercussions.
A West Caldwell child support modification lawyer can provide vital assistance to help you change your payment agreement. A knowledgeable legal representative will determine whether your situation warrants a child support modification and file a petition on your behalf to achieve the resolution you want from your case.
In most cases, courts in New Jersey will not modify existing child support arrangements without proof of “significant changed circumstances” relative to the situation each parent was in when the order was first established. More specifically, changes must be permanent, substantial, and unanticipated to qualify as valid grounds for a modification of a child support agreement. For example, changed circumstances should be expected to persist and have a major effect on a parent’s ability to financially provide for their child.
The burden of proving that a change is substantial enough to warrant a modification falls on the parent filing the request for modification. If a judge determines that the filing parent has met this requirement, the non-filing party must submit a Case Information Statement with information about their current financial situation, along with the required financial information. Based on submitted documentation and an analysis of factors related to the “best interests” of a child or children, a judge will decide whether to grant the proposed change.
Specific circumstances that may justify modifying support payments include:
A child support attorney in West Caldwell can clarify on a case-by-case basis when modification proceedings might be prudent.
Notably, there are several ways a child support order may be modified without a “substantial change in circumstances” as defined above. First, state law mandates that all child support obligations will be recalculated every two years to account for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. However, paying parents can contest an increase if their own income has not increased with inflation.
Second, federal law mandates regular review of child support orders every three years for families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Often, a review may lead to a change in support obligations based on the involved parties’ current financial situation. A seasoned lawyer in West Caldwell can further explain child support modification scenarios during a confidential consultation.
Getting the terms of a child support order changed is possible, but it is generally difficult. Without representation from knowledgeable legal counsel, your chances of convincing a court to alter your support obligations to a co-parent may be very slim.
However, a West Caldwell child support modification lawyer can put you on track toward a positive outcome for your unique case. If you or someone you know has a question regarding modifying an existing child support obligation, call the Williams Law Group, at (908) 810-1083, today to learn more about how we can assist you.