Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Process of Modifying Child Support in New Jersey

Situations that warrant the process of modifying child support in New Jersey, are referred to as changed circumstances. The court has defined changed circumstances as circumstances that are permanent, substantial, and unanticipated. 

These can be in the increase in the need of the child, an increase or decrease in the parent's income, the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, or a change in the status of the child, such as an ailment or disability. It could be if there is an illness or disability with the parent or if there is a substantial increase in the cost of living.

If you or your former partner find yourselves in a situation where your financial or living circumstances have changed, speak with a distinguished family law attorney about altering your child support plan. 

How are Child Support Payments Recalculated?

The parties can come to a consent agreement but either party may also petition the court for modifications. The process of modifying child support in New Jersey includes negotiations by attorneys to argue what information should be included in the guideline. If the guidelines are too high a little bit more or if the net combined incomes of the parties are outside of the guidelines, so over $187, 200.

The court will decide the discretionary amount by looking at the needs of the child, the standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent, all sources of income and assets of both parents, and the earning ability of each parent. The assessment of earning potential for each parent includes looking at the educational background, training, employment history, any special skills or licenses they have, and their work experience.

The court will also consider the custodial responsibility for the child, which parent has that, and the cost of child care. They are also going to look at the need and capacity of the children for education including higher education or secondary education, if they have other child support awards, the reasonable debt and liabilities of each parent and child, and any other factor that the court may deem relevant. 

Who Has the Power to Alter Child Support?

The judge is the only person who has the power to alter child support if an agreement by the parties is not reached. An individual cannot just employ what the court calls self-help to begin the process of modifying child support in New Jersey. That is called self-help. That parent needs to continue to pay because only the court has the power to alter child support if there is a disagreement among the parties.

Required Information to Alter a Support Plan

To begin the process of modifying the child support in New Jersey, parents have to show that it is a prima fascie showing of changed circumstances, that the circumstances are substantial and permanent, and it has to be sufficient enough to prove to the judge that it is not just temporary and it was not expected, it was not something that the person knew. The person was not given notice a year prior that they was going to be laid off. The person needs to show that it is a permanent change.

Impact of Emancipation Age

The process of modifying child support in New Jersey does get affected by emancipated or children past the age limit. Its impact depends on whether or not the parties have one child or multiple children. If it is one child and that child reaches the emancipation age, the child support obligation is gone. The person no longer has to pay anything. However, if it is multiple children, it does depend on whether or not your support has been unallocated or if it is allocated. If a recalculation is warranted, it is unallocated support, but if it is allocated, you can divide by the number of children.