New Jersey Child Support Modification
Every parent in New Jersey has the same obligation to care for the welfare of their children. If a parent loses majority custody over their child following a divorce or separation, the family courts in New Jersey will order that parent to provide child support to provide for their kid financially.
When making these decisions, the court will evaluate the needs of the child and the custodial parent at the time of the order. However, as circumstances change, the existing arrangement for monetary support may need to be altered to reflect this new reality. When this happens, a parent has the right to ask the court in New Jersey for child support modification with the help of a lawyer who has experience handling child maintenance payment cases.
Child support orders may go into effect when the two parents of a child no longer live together. If a final custody order grants physical custody with one parent having most of the parenting time, the other parent will need to provide child support.
To determine this amount, the family court will consider multiple factors. According to subsection a of New Jersey Revised Statute §2A:34-23, these factors include:
- The specific financial needs of the child
- The standard of living and economic situation of both parents
- Both parents’ source of income
- Educational needs of the child, including college
- Debts and liabilities from each parent
Once a New Jersey family court issues a child support order, it will remain in effect until the child turns 18 and is no longer in school. If the child goes to college, that order remains in effect until graduation. Clearly, a child support order creates a burden on a paying parent. It is vital that these parents evaluate whether a current order is still fair. Courts have the power to evaluate the fairness of a child support order any time one parent requests.
Courts may reevaluate a child support order when circumstances may require. This places a burden on the parent, making the motion to prove that a change in circumstances renders an old order to be inappropriate. Either parent, whether they are making the payments or receiving them, can initiate these requests.
Various changes in circumstances can justify these requests. The paying parent could lose a high-paying job, or the receiving parent could receive a raise. The child may contract a serious disease that requires money for health care. A divorced mother with primary custody may remarry and receive a new source of income. As a rule, a request for modification must include specific evidence as to why the current order is no longer appropriate. Working with an attorney could help parents determine if the time is right to pursue a New Jersey child support modification.
Child support orders affect every individual in a family. Parents who must pay understand that a failure to provide money could result in severe legal penalties and the receiving parent generally relies on these payments to pay rent, purchase clothing, or to put food on the table.
While courts take great care to ensure that a new order is appropriate to the relevant circumstances, these circumstances can change over time. This may result in payments that are insufficient to meet the needs of the child or payments that place an unfair burden on a non-custodial parent. If this occurs, a parent may petition the court to modify the child support order. These modifications can result in a more just payment plan or help struggling parents avoid allegations of non-payment. Reach out to a lawyer today to learn more about New Jersey child support modifications and how a change might help you.