Child Support Modification Attorneys Bergen County, NJ
Helping NJ Parents During the Child Support Modification Process
Any time parents divorce, either through mediation or the traditional divorce process, they will need to ensure that the financial needs of their children are properly accounted for in a child support agreement before their divorce can be finalized. While the parents will need to decide exactly how these payments are made between the parties, the exact amount of child support payments to be awarded has been greatly standardized for all divorces in New Jersey thanks to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s release of the Child Support Guidelines.
However, child support agreements are based on the circumstances of each parent, and their children, at the time of the divorce. As we all know, circumstances and lives can change in the blink of an eye, and in many of these cases, they warrant a modification of the existing child support agreement. This can be either an increase or a decrease in child support payments, depending on the circumstances that have changed. One thing is certain, however, if you are seeking a child support modification, or facing a child support modification petition, you should retain experienced legal counsel to ensure your rights, interests, and financial needs are properly taken into account.
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents across Ridgewood, Fort Lee, Hackensack, Bergen County, and throughout New Jersey to reach fair child support agreements during their divorce, and modify their child support agreement when circumstances call for such a modification.
Contact our firm today to speak with one of our family law attorneys in a free and confidential consultation. We will listen to your unique needs and concerns when it comes to a child support agreement or a modification hearing, and from there fight for your rights according to your specific requests.
When Can Child Support Obligations Change?
As previously noted, it is possible for an existing child support agreement to be modified when circumstances have changed permanently, and substantially. These two requirements are important to keep in mind, as some circumstances may only be temporary, or potentially not significant enough to warrant a child support modification.
For a child support modification hearing to take place, the parent requesting the modification must first demonstrate that certain circumstances have changed permanently, and substantially. While there is no set list of acceptably-changed circumstances, prior case law has given us some rough guidelines of which circumstances may qualify for a child support modification.
Changed Circumstances Which Can Warrant an Increase in Child Support Payments:
- The supporting parent’s income has increased
- The dependent parent lost their home
- The dependent parent or child suffered a serious injury or illness
- Federal income tax laws have changed
Changed Circumstances Which Can Warrant a Decrease in Child Support Payments:
- The supporting parent’s cost of living has increased
- The supporting parent’s income has decreased or has lost their job
- The dependent parent’s income has increased, or they secured employment where previously they were unemployed
- The dependent parent remarried or has entered into a cohabiting relationship with another adult
- The supporting parent suffered a serious injury or illness
- Federal income tax laws have changed
Remember, these lists are not definitive, merely common scenarios that have warranted child support modifications in the past.
For a clearer understanding of whether your family’s changed circumstances may call for a child support modification, contact our firm today to discuss your unique situation and potential options regarding a child support modification in a free and confidential consultation.
The Child Support Modification Process
As with many family law matters, it is possible for a child support agreement to be modified if the parents sign a written consent order outlining the exact modifications requested, and submit this consent order to the courts for review and potential approval.
However, this is rarely the case, and most often one parent will file a motion with the courts requesting a child support modification. This can be done by either the parent receiving child support or the parent making the child support payment, depending on the circumstances at hand.
If the court believes that there is sufficient evidence of permanent and substantial changed circumstances that warrant a child support modification, they will make much the same review that they do during the initial child support determination. The court will review each parent’s financial situation, the needs of the child or children involved, and how the existing child custody and visitation agreement affects each parent’s time with the children, and their resulting financial obligations.
While there are guidelines which have relatively standardized child support obligations in New Jersey, having an experienced child support attorney on your side during this process can be extremely beneficial, as they can help you to prove your unique needs and situation to the court, ensure that complete and accurate financial information is disclosed to the court by both parties, and ensure that any child support modification settlement that you reach is fair to you and your family.
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
According to New Jersey law, child support payments will automatically increase every two years. Known as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), this child support payment increase is designed to help ensure that child support payments keep pace with inflation as calculated by the Consumer Price Index.
While this COLA adjustment to child support obligations is automatic, not requiring the parent receiving child support to make any kind of court petition, the parent who is making child support payments can contest a Cost of Living Adjustment if they believe their income has not increased correspondingly with the calculated inflation rate.
For further information regarding your child support payments and your legal options when it comes to Cost of Living Adjustments, contact our child support attorneys today.
Contact Our Hackensack Child Support Modification Lawyers Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience handling child support modification matters. By practicing exclusively divorce and family law, our attorneys can focus on the issues most important to you and your family, and providing you with the effective, knowledgeable, and compassionate legal service you deserve when it comes to your financial, legal, and parental future. To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child support agreement, child support modification, or Cost of Living Adjustment, contact our firm.