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Child support modification in New Jersey

Divorced parents looking to get a modification to child support should know the specific rules for the state of New Jersey.

A child support agreement is sometimes one of the resulting obligations that New Jersey parents may encounter from divorces. At the time of the divorce, a set amount of compensation is agreed upon to be paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. While the amount agreed upon may make sense at the time of the divorce, it is a fact of life that circumstances sometimes change, and the financial capabilities or needs of either parent may be different after a period of months or years. It is possible to get the court to approve what is known as a modification to child support if certain conditions are met, and it is important for parents who may be considering applying for modifications to know the specific requirements in New Jersey and how they differ from other states.

When is the time to request child support modification?

The specific factors that will affect making the decision to pursue a modification will vary between individuals. In New Jersey, custodial parents are responsible for sharing any case-impacting changes with the child support office. One thing that is guaranteed to both custodial and non-custodial parents is the right to appeal a court decision or request a review to a decision. If a person is unsure of whether it is the right time to make such a request, it is also a right for both parents to request a review every three years. The three-year mark may be a good time to look into a review if there are reasons that seem to indicate a change in child support may be in order.

Is there a fee for filing for modification?

While it is possible to waive the fee, there is a required payment which changes depending on what type of modification is being requested. For nondissolution cases where there is a change in child support requested, the fee is 25 dollars. For those filing to dissolve the child support entirely, a 50 dollar payment is expected.

What other details should parents know?

There are some other important aspects to child support modification in New Jersey, such as those in the following list by the Office of Child Support Enforcement:

  • The process is the same for everyone, even parents who are or have been incarcerated.
  • A different document known as a "consent order for a modification to the support order" is filed if both parties agree to the proposed change.
  • After a request has been filed, it will usually take four to six weeks for a court date to be scheduled.
  • There is no specified submission window, so either parent may file a request for modification at any time.

Those wishing to see if their case is being enforced via the Social Security Act, also known as an IV-D case, can contact the New Jersey Family Support Services Center.

Anyone looking for guidance with child support modification, whether attempting to file for modification or disputing a request for modification may find helpful the guidance of a local attorney who practices family law.