Modifying Child Support

A big part of deciding on a divorce agreement is determining whether you will pay your ex-spouse any kind of support, including child support (if the two of you have children together). Of course, child support can be ordered in relationships outside of marriage (and divorce). Regardless of the situation you and your ex-partner found yourselves in when child support was originally ordered, it is likely that, at some point, you will need to alter its amount as your circumstances change. When this happens, you will need to petition for something called a “modification.”

Situations that Necessitate Modifications

Every modification request is unique, but some of the common reasons that obligors (parents who pay child support) request a modification include:

  • Loss of a job or significant change in income
  • Change to parenting time (custody plan)
  • Any major health issue that arises with you, your children, or the other parent
  • Emancipation of your children
  • Other change in the needs of your children

What are Sufficient Grounds for Child Support Modification?

New Jersey, like essentially all other states, requires you to experience “changed circumstances” for modifications to be granted. What this means in this context is that changes in your situation must be indefinite and significant. Additionally, the change must have been unanticipated at the time your child-support order was handed down.

Every two years, child support orders in New Jersey are subject to increases or decreases based on cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA). Generally, modifications are automatically entered into, but you can contest these changes if your income has not kept up with inflation.

How Do You Begin to Secure a Modification?

First, you need to complete a motion that requests a modification and file it with the appropriate Superior Court. An important thing to note here is that the burden of proof is on you to convince the court that a modification is warranted. While the judge is deciding on your request, your child’s other parent will supply certain financial information.

The overriding factor that guides the judge through his or her decision process, though, is the “best interests” of your children. This includes items like your children’s medical, financial, and educational needs. Throughout the process, you will need an experienced family law attorney by your side to ensure that you are in the best position possible to receive a modification.


Csépes Law Offices is fiercely committed to helping our clients receive fair outcomes in child-support modification requests or other family law matters. Please call our firm today at 609-241-7111 to get started on a consultation.

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