A Lawyer Can Help You Modify Child Support or Alimony Following a Change in Circumstances
New Jersey Child support lawyer Santo Artusa of Hudson County, New Jersey represents people who seek to reduce or increase child support or alimony payments throughout New Jersey because of a significant changes in circumstances. While New Jersey does not uses a simple percentage to calculate child support, New Jersey Courts use the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines in order to calculate the amount to be paid to the custodial/residential parent. You may have to pay, or you may be able to receive child support even if there is shared custody between you and the parent of primary residency. Along with child support, we can also help you with regard to parenting time issues as well.
Are you paying too much child support? Have other children born after the initial court order? Earning less money? Seeking to modify a child support or alimony order in New Jersey? We can help you. We create all the paperwork necessary in order to have a Judge or Child Support Hearing Officer review your case and calculate child support with the right information and the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. Contact our team today to discuss your case in full confidence.
Court Orders Can Be Changed
While my main practice is in Jersey City, NJ, the same holds true statewide. In New Jersey, when a court order is issued, it is not set in stone, it is not forever when it concerns child support, alimony, and child custody. This is true in:
- Jersey City
- Hackensack and beyond.
Court orders can be modified. Family law, child support cases are heard in the Hudson County-Jersey City Family court which is located at: 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07306. Bergen County Family Court is located at 10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ. Essex County Family Court- 212 Washington Street, Newark, NJ.
When You Need a Court Order Modification
There are events that warrant a change or modification of the court order. These events must be significant so for example if you earn $50 less per week but you earn $1000 per week, that is not significant. However, if you earn $200 less per week and earned a total of $600 per week, that could be deemed significant.
We can help you determine if a child support reduction or increase is warranted under the specific circumstances of your case.
In a recent case we argued in Hudson County Family Court, the Judge agreed that a 20% decrease in income warranted a new child support calculation. Every case is fact sensitive and we would need to explore as much as we can about the situation before deciding to file a motion. However, if you have been served with papers in the mail about a motion, you do need to respond and we can do that for you right away. The leading case in New Jersey concerning a change in circumstances is Lepis v. Lepis decided in 1980. Some examples of changed circumstances according to the Lepis decision are:
- Cost of living increases
- Increase/decreases in income
- Long-term unemployment with proof of a diligent search in work
- The dependent spouse’s loss of a home/residence
- Changes in federal income tax laws
For a party to prevail on a modification or Lepis motion in New Jersey, the moving party (the party seeking relief) must show an initial showing that a change is needed. Upon successfully meeting this burden, the court or counsel may seek discovery to determine the current income levels, assets and so forth by way of tax returns, a case information statement and other proofs. With regard to alimony modifications, the moving party must show that the change substantially impaired his or her ability to support him or herself.
Considerations When Seeking a Modification
Best Interests of the Child
For New Jersey child support modifications, a necessary showing is the best interests of the children and that the child’s needs have increased to the point where the original agreement or order does not provide for that increase. From that point, the court will decide if the case can be decided with or without a formal hearing. The case may move before a hearing officer who will calculate the new amount (if applicable).
If you obtain more parenting time than before, that could adjust your NJ-child support obligation.
Significant Change in Circumstances
The same holds true with a change of custody application where it can be shown that a significant change in circumstances has occurred and in the best interests of the child, the child’s residential or child’s legal custody should be changed in favor of the moving party. For example, a change in circumstance that may warrant a change in residential custody is if a parent fails to bring the child to school, or the child does not complete homework/projects and gets left back because there is neglect at home. An example of where it would be denied is if the child has a B average and now has a C average, while that is not great, it is not a reason alone to obtain residential custody, there must be other factors.
Loss of Employment
Another frequent attempt for New Jersey child support reductions are a loss of employment. The Courts in New Jersey consider a job loss a temporary set back and not a significant change in circumstances. To prevail, the job loss would most likely have to last more than 6 months and the party seeking a reduction must show that he or she is trying to find another job. Another reason to seek a reduction is if one child has become emancipated and you have one less child to pay for, that may warrant a change in the support amount.
...My situation was very difficult for me and my kids, and the stress of divorce makes it tough to be able to enjoy life and family. Appreciate your work, Sonny. My kids and I thank you. Matt G.
Areas We Represent
My team and I represent both mothers and fathers in New Jersey alimony modifications, child support and child custody modifications in Hudson County, Bergen County, Union County, Middlesex County, Passaic County, Essex County Superior Court and beyond.
Contact Our Team Today
If you seek a modification or seek to respond to a family law motion, contact my firm today on (973) 337-9643 we can help you determine if a child support reduction or increase is warranted under the specific circumstances of your case. For more information about the legal services we provide in New Jersey, request a consultation online.