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NJ Child Support Modification Attorneys

NJ Child Support Modification Attorneys

Helping you achieve the right balance in family finances

Child support is an important part of many divorce or co-parenting agreements, but life happens and families experience financial changes. Over time, what was once a carefully considered component of the settlement may wind up out-of-step with today’s financial realities.

The child support modification attorneys at Jacobs Berger help families adjust their child support agreement to better reflect current financial situations.
We have extensive experience in working with families to successfully increase or decrease payments as needed.

If you believe your child support agreement needs to be modified, or if you need to contest a child support modification application, contact us. Our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the process.

How Do You Modify Child Support in NJ?

In New Jersey, child support is designed to help children maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while their parents were married or living together. Unlike alimony, child support in the state of New Jersey is determined according to a very specific set of criteria.

Child support agreements are based on the circumstances of the family at the time of divorce or the establishment of the initial child support order if the parents are unmarried. With time, circumstances may change and a modification to the existing child support agreement may be needed.

In order to modify a child support agreement, the parent seeking the modification can file a motion for a hearing with the court. Due to the complexities in the law and in calculating the right amount of support, many parents choose to work with a child support modification attorney when preparing the paperwork and affidavits that accompany this motion.

At Jacobs Berger, our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience in working with clients to successfully file for child support modifications. In doing so, we use constructive, creative solutions to preserve stability between co-parents.

When Child Support Agreements Can Change

When petitioning the courts for a change in child support payments, you and your child support modification attorney must show that certain circumstances have changed permanently, substantially, and unpredictably—meaning that at the time the initial child support agreement was created the changes couldn’t have reasonably been predicted by either party. 

When drafting a child support agreement, if it’s anticipated there will be a change, it’s possible to include future modification on the basis of a change in circumstances. 

Common reasons for pursuing a child support modification include either party:

  • Receiving a promotion or raise
  • Losing a home
  • Being diagnosed with a severe illness
  • Changes in federal tax law
  • Increased cost of living
  • Experiencing a reduction in salary

The attorneys at Jacobs Berger have successfully worked with parents seeking both increases and decreases in child support payments for the above reasons and more.

Our Child Support Modification Services

At Jacobs Berger, our child support modification attorneys have extensive experience in working with parents to find constructive, creative solutions to questions and concerns around child support modification. 

We’ve successfully worked with parents seeking to raise, lower, or petition against changes to child support modifications. We’ve also worked with parents who understand that circumstances have changed, and want to find a common ground without court intervention.

Increasing child support

If you or your co-parent has experienced a substantial change in circumstances and your child support agreement is no longer adequate or in keeping with the initial intention of the agreement, you may wish to seek a modification.

Common reasons for seeking an increase in child support include:

  • Your co-parent receiving a raise or promotion
  • You or your child suffering a serious illness or disability
  • Losing your home
  • Changes to federal (and in some case state) income tax laws

Reducing child support

Child support agreements are court orders and must be adhered to.

The penalties for failing to meet child support obligations can quickly snowball, negatively impacting not only the children, but the supported parent’s financial circumstances, as well as the circumstances of the parent obligated to pay.

Before things progress, it may be worth seeking a modification of child support payment amounts.

Common reasons for seeking a reduction in child support payments include:

  • An increase in the cost of living
  • Being diagnosed with a serious illness or suffering an injury
  • Loss of your employment or a reduction to your salary
  • Your co-parent securing a raise in income
  • Your co-parent remarrying or living with another adult
  • Changes to federal (and in some case state) income tax laws

Cost-of-living adjustments

Every two years, New Jersey law automatically raises child support payments in what is known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. This raise helps child support payments keep pace with inflation.

The COLA raise is an automatic process that doesn’t require the party receiving child support payments to go to court to secure this modest increase.

However, the party who is making child support payments can contest a COLA child support increase if their income hasn’t increased at the same rate as inflation.

Child support termination

Unless your child support agreement specifically says otherwise, as of February 1, 2017, all child support orders are set to be automatically terminated once the child turns nineteen. However, in certain circumstances, child support can continue until the child is twenty-three, or in the case of disability, potentially longer.

If your child is planning on attending college or you have other reasons to believe they’ll need to be supported beyond the age of nineteen, it’s best to address this issue when your initial child support agreement is created.

That said, parents can file for child support to continue after nineteen, even if it wasn’t addressed in the initial child support agreement.

It’s also important to understand that if a child becomes financially independent before the age of nineteen or during the period of extended support, the supporting parent can file to terminate child support payments due to the child’s emancipation (the legal term for financial independence).

NJ Child Support Modification FAQs

To request a modification in child support, you must file a motion with the courts unless you can negotiate and memorialize an agreement which is then filed with the Court. We highly recommend working with a child support modification attorney in gathering the required legal paperwork that must be filed with the motion.

Should the judge find that there is sufficient evidence of a changed circumstance to warrant a modification to the amount of child support, they’ll require both parents to submit financial information. 

The judge will then take into account the same factors that were considered when creating the initial child support agreement.

We always recommend at least speaking with a child support modification order before pursuing increased or decreased payments with the courts.

With your initial motion to request a hearing, you must file:

  • A copy of the specific order you’re seeking to modify
  • Copies of prior Case Information Statements
  • Copies of your current Case Information Statement and current financial information
  • Any supporting affidavits related to proving changed circumstances

If the judge finds sufficient evidence of changes in the paperwork you’ve submitted, then you and your co-parent will need to file still more paperwork.

For those who aren’t accustomed to the particular way of doing things in the New Jersey legal system, this process can be immensely time-consuming and even overwhelming. Therefore, we recommend working with an attorney.

A co-parent may seek to modify child support for any number of reasons related to a significant change in financial circumstances for either party. If the supported party has another child, then the supporting party may seek a decrease in child support payments due to their change in circumstance. If the supported party is seeking child support for their new child, they’d need to pursue that with the new child’s co-parent.

Work with Our Trusted NJ Family Law Attorneys

At Jacobs Berger, our child support modification attorneys have extensive experience in successfully helping parents pursue or contest child support modifications. 

Our unique approach focuses on constructive and effective solutions that protect your family’s stability and financial future.

We understand that you’ll have to continue working with the other party as co-parents, and we believe that through negotiation, we can provide an opportunity to create the building blocks for an amicable relationship with your co-parent, focused on the well-being of your child.

If you’re seeking or contesting a child support modification, contact us today to schedule a strategic planning session—and protect your family’s financial future.