Child support and alimony are common terms of divorce in New Jersey. Judges ordinarily establish child support and alimony obligations based on the income, expenses and the needs of the parties at the time of divorce.
But sometimes circumstances change, such as a significant change in income or needs. When this happens, parties often ask if there is anything they can do to modify a child support or alimony order.
Motion for modification
New Jersey law provides that a court can modify a child support or alimony order if there has been a change of circumstances that is substantial, permanent and unanticipated.
For example, a substantial change of circumstances may occur if one party’s business closes or there is a job loss resulting in a significant income change moving forward.
A change of circumstances may also occur if either party becomes permanently disabled or there is a change in parenting time.
To obtain a modification of child support or alimony, the party seeking the change has the burden to prove the substantial change in circumstances.
Triennial review of child support
New Jersey law also provides for a review of child support obligations once every three years if requested by either party.
During this triennial review, a party does not need to show a substantial, permanent and unanticipated change in circumstances to receive a modification. Rather, the court reviews the parties’ current income, expenses and needs to determine whether a change in child support is appropriate.
If you are facing a significant change in circumstances justifying modification of a child support or alimony order, you should consult with an experienced attorney.
An attorney can advise on your rights and the best methods for presenting evidence to a court of your changed financial circumstances.