Union County Child Support Modification Lawyer
Child support is money paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, with whom the child lives most of the time. The money contributes to the child’s needs for housing, food, clothing, education, and healthcare. An order to pay child support is an enforceable court order.
Over time, a parent’s situation might change, or the child’s needs could evolve. When that happens, seeking a modification of the child support order may be appropriate.
If your current child support order is no longer meeting the child’s needs, or if a parent’s circumstances have changed significantly, set up a consultation with a Union County child support modification lawyer. Our dedicated child support attorneys are ready to help you pursue justice and protect your child’s interests.
Reasons for Seeking Modification
Sometimes circumstances arise that make it necessary to change a child support arrangement. The non-custodial parent usually pays a portion of their income towards child support under a formula called the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. So if their income rises or decreases substantially, an adjustment to child support could be necessary.
Other changes that could merit adjustments to the child support arrangement include:
- Child changed residences and now lives mostly with the parent who is presently paying child support
- One parent has significantly more or fewer overnight visits than the original agreement anticipated
- Parent lost a job
- Child’s health insurance coverage switched from one parent’s policy to the other’s or has drastically become more expenses
- Parent or child develops severe health issues or disability
- Significant change in childcare or education expenses
- A new need for childcare due to work obligations
Other disruptive life events could require modifying a parent’s child support obligations. A Union County child support modification attorney can review a parent’s circumstances and advise whether seeking a revision is appropriate in a given case.
Process for Seeking Modification
If modifying a child support agreement seems necessary or appropriate given a change in circumstance, the parents can attempt to reach an agreement between themselves. If they are successful, a Union County child support modification attorney can formalize their new obligations in a Consent Order, which is signed by both parents and then filed with the court. If the agreement does not seem unfair or detrimental to the child, the judge will issue it as a court order.
Sometimes only one parent believes a modification is necessary and the parties are unable to reach an agreement. In such cases, each party should work with an attorney, and the legal professionals will work to create a modification both parties can accept. Mediation is another option. After the attorneys or a mediator have crafted a new agreement, it is documented in a Consent Order and filed at court.
Sometimes a party must make a motion to the court to modify child support. The party who seeks the modification has the burden of proving that it is necessary and appropriate in their specific case based on a permanent and substantial change in circumstances.
Changes in the economy beyond a parent’s control could leave them working reduced hours or even facing termination. Perhaps, for example, they no longer receive as much overtime as they used to earn. In a recession, it could be challenging to find another job that pays what they made before. However, judges are often reluctant to make significant child support agreement modifications in response to these events.
The courts do not want to give a parent an incentive to earn less than they are able to avoid paying child support. The New Jersey Rules of Court Appendix IXA (12) allows a court to impose a child support agreement that assumes a parent is earning a salary in line with what is typical of someone with similar training, skills, and experience. This process is called “imputing” income to a parent.
The parent who claims they can no longer pay child support per the original agreement must prove that the change in their circumstances was involuntary and not temporary. They could present documentation showing an involuntary job loss and documenting their efforts to find a new job. A child support modification attorney in Union County can ask the judge to impute a certain income to the parent to preserve their obligation to pay child support.
Trust Your Case to a Union County Child Support Modification Attorney
Life’s uncertainties might lead you or your co-parent to consider modifying your child support order. Whether you agree on an appropriate modification, or the discussions are acrimonious and unproductive, you benefit from getting advice from an experienced legal professional.
A Union County child support modification lawyer can formalize your agreement in a Consent Order or, if necessary, represent you in court. Contact us at Moskowitz Law Group today to get started.