Reasons to Modify Child Support
In order to win a child support modification, you must show a change in circumstances. What is a change in circumstance that qualifies as a reason to modify child support? In order to convince a court to adjust child support payments you have to show an involuntary and significant increase in the payer’s income (if you are seeking an increase in child support) or decrease in the payer’s income (if you are the payer and have suffered a decline in your income. The change in circumstance must be involuntary. This means that you cannot quit your job and then ask the court to reevaluate child support because you have no income. The change must also be significant. Significant to one person may be insignificant to another person but we often use a “rule of thumb” of 20% – the payer would have to have suffered a 20% or more involuntary decline in income to justify a modification of child support request.
Reasons to Modify Child Support: Adjusting Child Support Payments
Although applicable by statute to modifications of alimony, the factors for modifying alimony set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23k are often used by courts to evaluate a motion for modification of child support. These factors include:
(1)The reasons for any loss of income;
(2)Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, the obligor’s documented efforts to obtain replacement employment or to pursue an alternative occupation;
(3)Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, whether the obligor (the person paying) is making a good faith effort to find remunerative employment at any level and in any field;
(4)The impact of the parties’ health on their ability to obtain employment;
(5)Any severance compensation or award made in connection with any loss of employment;
(6)Any changes in the respective financial circumstances of the parties that have occurred since the date of the order from which modification is sought;
(7)The reasons for any change in either party’s financial circumstances since the date of the order from which modification is sought, including, but not limited to, assessment of the extent to which either party’s financial circumstances at the time of the application are attributable to enhanced earnings or financial benefits received from any source since the date of the order;
(8)Whether a temporary remedy should be fashioned to provide adjustment of the support award from which modification is sought, and the terms of any such adjustment, pending continuing employment investigations by the unemployed spouse or partner; and
(9) Any other factor the court deems relevant to fairly and equitably decide the application.
If you feel confident that you can satisfy your reason to modify child support with these elements, the child support modification process starts by first attempting to resolve the issue through negotiation with the payee (the person receiving child support). If that effort is unsuccessful, then you have to seek help from the court to change child support payments. This requires filing what’s called a motion or application asking the court to adjust the child support payments. Your motion should address all of the above factors and provide the court with a complete financial picture of your circumstances.
Call us today to schedule an appointment and discuss your reasons to modify child support with an attorney.