Material Change of Circumstance in New Jersey
If a child support order or arrangement no longer works for your family, there are ways of getting it changed. Either parent may petition the court to recalculate the support payments, but it must be proven that there has been a material change of circumstance in New Jersey.
Many factors affect child support such as a person’s earned income, other income from rental properties, dividends, or trust payments, a person’s age, and earning capability. However, these things may not remain constant over a child’s entire life. When any of these factors has significantly changed, it may serve as grounds for the court to alter an existing order. If you believe that your family’s situation has changed enough to warrant an alteration of existing orders, it may be helpful to work with a dedicated child support attorney.
What Legally Qualifies as a Material Change of Circumstance in New Jersey?
New Jersey law explains material change in circumstance as basically a significant change for one parent that is likely to affect one or both parties for the foreseeable future. It is key to remember that this means the situation is not temporary.
There must be evidence that the change in circumstance is unlikely to be reversed or corrected. Any increase in the cost of living must be considered permanent in nature. However, temporary unemployment for a month or two would not be considered a permanent change in circumstance that would warrant an alteration of existing child support orders.
It is important to note that what is considered a substantial change in salary is relative to what was being earned before. While there is no hard and fast rule, if a cut in pay is a significant proportion of what was being made when the order was created, there are likely strong grounds for an alteration. However, that same change in income could be considered non-material for child support purposes if the person was already making a significant paycheck.
Another element of a material change of circumstance in New Jersey is that it’s unforeseeable. A parent will likely only get an alteration if they could not have reasonably anticipated this change in their life when the support was originally being calculated. If something was promised by an employer and the economy tanks, causing that employer to break their promise and that expectation affected the child support order, the parent may be entitled to a modification. Determining whether a material change of circumstance has occurred for a local couple can be difficult, but by consulting with a dedicated attorney, parents could give themselves the best chance of securing any changes they deserve.
Let an Attorney Help Your Family Navigate a New Situation
If your situation has seriously changed, your existing child support orders may be an undue burden, negatively impacting your life. Likewise, if your child’s other parent has had a significant raise, or came into some money, they owe part of that to your child’s welfare. To learn whether or not your situation qualifies as a material change of circumstance in New Jersey and whether you are eligible for a child support order modification, call an attorney right away and schedule a consultation.