Hackensack Child Support Modification Lawyer
When a relationship ends between spouses with children, they are still responsible for the financial support of their children. If one parent gets primary custody, the non-custodial parent will be required to meet this obligation by providing child support payments to the custodial parent. Once a family court orders these payments, failing to comply may lead to penalties or even incarceration.
An experienced child support attorney knows a non-custodial parent may lose the ability to make timely payments in the amount required by the original court order or agreement. In these situations, a family may consider modifying the terms of their child support order or agreement. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Hackensack child support modification lawyer if you need help applying to the court or want to review your options for modification.
Grounds For Child Support Modification
Child support can become a financial obligation for a non-custodial parent if life brings about financial changes, and it is not uncommon for someone to get behind on payments. When a substantial, unexpected, and permanent event occurs that changes the non-custodial parent’s ability to meet their child support obligations, they could be eligible for pursuing a modification provided that they can prove what the court requires.
Family law courts typically recommend parents try to reach a new agreement in mediation sessions. However, if parents cannot agree, they can file an action to take their case to family court. Under New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2A:34-23(a), potential reasons for filing for a child support modification in family court include:
- A change in custody arrangements
- The birth of additional children
- A sudden and unforeseen change in income, such as losing a job
- One of the parents suffering an injury or illness leading to disability
- Increase in the cost of daycare
- Increase in medical care or health insurance costs
In these cases, a parent can file a motion with the family court requesting the amendment to the current order. A Hackensack child support attorney can review a family’s circumstances to help determine if they have reasonable cause to file for a modification through court.
How Does the Court Determine Child Support Payments?
For most families, the court uses a formula to calculate child support called the Child Support Guidelines. This formula takes into account factors like the parents’ incomes, amount of time spent with the children, and who pays for health insurance and childcare.
Not all families are covered by the Child Support Guidelines. High-income families are an exception from the Guidelines. Additionally, the court may decide to deviate from the Guidelines and order a parent to pay more child support than what would be provided under the Guidelines. In such cases, the family court in New Jersey considers many other factors to calculate the amount of child support that is ordered in a specific case. They will review the combined income of both parents, the average cost of and budget for raising the children, and the amount of time the children spend with each parent.
Both parents must provide full financial disclosure for the court to order a modification. When one parent’s finances change substantially and permanently, parents need to request approval for a modification or an agreement from the other parent. In other cases, the receiving custodial parent may need to take legal action to acquire missed payments. A family law attorney can listen to a Hackensack family’s needs, assess what may be an appropriate amount of child support in the given circumstances, and work through their dispute to come to an agreement on modification. If they cannot reach an agreement, the attorney can file the appropriate motion in the court.
Call a Child Support Modification Attorney in Hackensack
Whether you are a custodial or non-custodial parent, you could experience a change in circumstances that requires modifying a child support order or agreement. A modification could increase or decrease payments, but for the modification to be granted, there must have been a substantial and permanent change in circumstances to request the change.
While the family court would always rather the two individuals co-parent successfully and reach agreements outside the courtroom, that is not always an option. An experienced Hackensack child support modification attorney could help determine the best action in your case. If you have child support issues or need help modifying a current order or agreement, call Moskowitz Law Group to review your case.