Child support orders are issued in New Jersey to ensure that children receive the care they need and do not become burdens on the state, but the amount that noncustodial parents are required to pay may be increased or lowered from time to time to reflect changes in the cost of living or because their or the custodial parent’s circumstances have changed. All child support orders in New Jersey are eligible for a cost of living adjustment every two years. Requests to modify child support because of changed circumstances can be made at any time and will restart two-year period for a cost of living adjustment.
Substantial, unanticipated and permanent
A change of circumstances will only lead to a child support modification in New Jersey if it is substantial, unanticipated and permanent. This means that custodial parents will not be granted modifications when they suffer temporary financial setbacks or deal with situations that the court was aware of or anticipated when the order was made. The process is not quick because documents must be submitted and change of circumstances claims are investigated thoroughly before child support orders are modified.
Reasons for child support modifications
Changes in income are the most common reason why child support orders are modified in New Jersey, and the amount noncustodial parents must pay can be either increased or reduced. Modifications may also be granted to ensure that the child’s educational and health care needs are met, when a parent becomes disabled or visitation arrangements have changed significantly.
Advocating on behalf of parents
Experienced family law attorneys could explain the child support modification process to custodial or noncustodial parents and file the necessary paperwork with the court. They could also argue on their behalf before these decisions are made by the court.