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Standard for Modifying Child Support

If you are seeking modification of child support either to increase or decrease that support, under New Jersey law it is possible to do so. However, there are some conditions.

What Qualifies as a "Change of Circumstance?"

Child support is only modified if it can be proven that there is a change of circumstances that is both significant and permanent.

Examples of changed circumstances include:

  • The loss of a job usually for one or more years
  • Permanent disability of a person
  • A person's illness
  • Decrease or increase in parenting time by the noncustodial parent
  • Obtaining higher paying employment.

For example, if the payor lost his or her job, that is not enough to modify child support. However, if the payor lost his or her job, has been out of work for a year or more and has made a diligent effort to secure comparable income at a comparable position but cannot, then this job loss would qualify as a reason to modify child support.

The person who files for the modification bears the burden of proving these changed circumstances and must meet this burden of proof prior to the court ordering the other person to provide his or her financial information. To be sure you meet that burden of proof, it is wise to talk to a divorce attorney.

Your Obligation to Pay Support Ends at Emancipation

In New Jersey, when a child is considered "emancipated," then your obligation to pay child support for that child ends. There is no fixed age when a child is emancipated and this depends upon the child's life circumstances.

In New Jersey, emancipation occurs when the child:

  • Reaches the age of 18 years old, is not a full-time student at an institution of higher learning and becomes financially independent
  • Cohabitates with a party (not a roommate) holding themselves as if they were married
  • Enters into the armed forces
  • Marries
  • Is employed full time and is not attending school on a full-time basis (this does not include summer jobs between semesters)

If a child is emancipated, your child support obligation will cease unless there is another child. If there is another child still un-emancipated, the court will modify the support order using your and the child's other parent's gross income.

Want to Modify Your Child Support Agreement?

If you want to modify your child support agreement, talk to the Monmouth County divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven P. Monaghan, LLC. With 60+ years of combined experience under our belt, we are eager to guide you. Your first consultation is always free.

Call (732) 624-6343 or complete the online form to get started.

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