Can Back Child Support Be Modified?

In the event of a divorce, one spouse will often have to pay child support to the parent who has primary custody of their children. These payments are meant to help the custodial parent with costs associated with raising their child. This support typically lasts until the child’s date of emancipation, which will differ based on the families’ decisions or individual state laws.

In a divorce involving a child, there is typically a custodial and non-custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent who has the child in their custody the majority of the time, and the non-custodial parent is the parent who would be financially assisting the custodial parent. This support is crucial to the proper raising of the child, which is why these payments are regulated and overseen in legal proceedings in court.

What is Back Child Support?

If the parent does not make child support payments, they will be in arrears, i.e. owing “back child support.”

Who is Eligible for a Modification?

New Jersey has an “anti-retroactivity” child support statute that does not allow any monetary modifications of back child support payments if that child support was rightfully due at the time. However, the statute does not stop the modification or reduction of back support payments that accrue after the child’s emancipation, which means that back child support payments can be modified or reduced after that time, in the court’s discretion.

In New Jersey, back child support payments will continue to accrue even after the child passes the age of emancipation. For a parent’s back child support payment to be reduced or modified, the parent must file a motion to request emancipation, and a modification of child support. The court will then review the situation and examine the parent’s past child support payments and other factors to decide if the parent is eligible for any relief. If a parent wants a child support modification for other reasons, they will have to show a substantial and permanent change in their financial circumstances and their child support obligation may only be modified as of the date they file a motion to modify their obligation.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer Today

It is important that child support payments are fair and reasonable. The experienced child support lawyers at Moskowitz Law Group understand the dynamics of divorce settlements and want to ensure that your payments are determined fairly and upheld accordingly. If you owe back child support payments, you may be entitled to a reduction or modification. Call us today to schedule a review of your case.

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