If your divorce involved child support, the amount the court set was likely based on a variety of factors. In addition to your income and your spouse’s income, a judge may have considered your children’s ages and specific care needs.
However, child support arrangements are not set in stone. Either you or your ex-spouse may be able to change payment amounts by asking the court to review your current order based on New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.
1. When might modification be possible?
There are two ways that you can petition the court to review support amounts:
- Every three years you can ask the court to review your case and see if the changes in the cost of living or parental income justify modification.
- You or your spouse may request a review sooner if either of you has experienced a significant change in income or if your children’s needs have changed substantially.
2. What are examples of a significant change in circumstances?
Common examples of substantial life changes that could result in support modification include:
- An involuntary job loss or major decrease in income
- A significant increase in either parent’s income
- A major change in access to or cost of health insurance
- Modification of custody arrangements
- An increase or decrease in a child’s daycare, medical or educational expenses
3. Which parent can request a review?
Either parent may ask the court to review a current order. However, if the other parent objects, you both may have to attend a court hearing.
If you and your ex-spouse do agree that a change is necessary, you may be able to avoid a court appearance by completing a Consent Support Agreement. However, to receive court approval, you will have to make sure that new payments align with NJ support guidelines.