If a child support agreement was part of your divorce, a judge may have based payment amounts on your income, your ex-spouse’s income and the needs of your children, among other factors.
However, as your children grow and you and your former spouse face new life and career challenges, you may find that your original child support order no longer makes financial sense. In New Jersey, you may be able to make a post-divorce modification to support payment amounts if your family’s circumstances have changed substantially.
1. When might modification be possible?
You may be able to alter your current child support order if you, your ex-spouse or your children have experienced major life changes that make the current amounts unfair or unworkable. Examples of significant changes may include an increase or decrease in income, changes to custody or visitation schedules, remarriage or new educational, care or medical needs on the part of your children.
2. Which parent can request a change?
Either you or your spouse may request that the court review and potentially modify child support amounts. Depending on current state guidelines, a judge may raise or lower payments, or the court may keep payments the same.
3. Can you make an informal modification?
If you are on relatively good terms, you and your former spouse may want to try to come to an informal agreement about increasing, decreasing or discontinuing support payments. However, it is important to keep in mind that, without court approval, any new agreement may not be legally binding or enforceable.
Whether you are the receiving parent or the paying parent, it may be important to seek modification within a short time of experiencing a major life change. While the court may agree to changes, the original order will remain in effect until a judge approves the modification.