Modifying Child Support to Attend College

In the 2016 decision in the case of Zavaglia v. Bray, the Appellate Division confirmed the idea that parents cannot modify their child support agreements on the basis that they are attending a post-secondary educational program such as a college or university.

While the fact that parents often wish to secure a higher education in order to then be able to better support their children is completely understandable, unfortunately the Zavaglia v Bray decision has now set a legal precedent for all parents in New Jersey wishing to temporarily modify their child support agreements while attending college or university.

With that being said, here is some information regarding when you can modify your child support agreement, and why those laws eventually lead to the Appellate’s Decision in the case at hand.

Child Support Modification Lawyers Bergen County, NJ

The basis of any post-divorce modification is that of a changed circumstance. Additionally, this changed circumstance needs to be substantial, and unanticipated. When it comes to modifying a child support agreement, here are some of the most commonly cited changed circumstances which allow either the parent making child support payments, or the parent receiving those payments to modify their child support agreement:

  • The cost of living has increased for either parent, or the child(ren)
  • Either parent’s income has increased or decreased
  • The supported child has suffered a serious injury or illness
  • The parent receiving the child support has remarried
  • Federal income tax laws have changed

Of course, there are many other unanticipated circumstances which may call for a child support modification, these are merely the most commonly cited. If your circumstances have changed, and you are unsure whether or not they may warrant a child support modification, call our Bergen County child support modification lawyers today

The Zavaglia v Bray Child Support Modification Ruling

In the case of Zavaglia v Bray, father Anthony Zavaglia voluntarily left his job in order to attend an online university program full-time, and his voluntary leaving of his employment was the key deciding factor in his case. The trial court, affirmed by the appeals court, saw this change in circumstance as both something that could have been anticipated, as well as only a temporary change in circumstance.

Considering those two key factors, both courts easily ruled against Zavaglia’s petition for a child support modification.

Contact Our Hackensack Child Support Modification Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to draft, sign, modify, and enforce fair and accurate child support agreements of all kinds in towns across Bergen County, including Ridgewood, Paramus, Hackensack, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

By practicing exclusively divorce and family law, our firm can focus on providing each of our clients with the knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal counsel that they need and deserve in matters as important as family law and divorce issues can often be.

To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, your child support agreement, or any kind of child support modification issue, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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