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What Constitutes Change of Circumstances that Warrant a New Jersey Child Support Modification?

A New Jersey child support order can be modified when there has been a substantial or material change in circumstances. Terms like “substantial” and “material” can seem rather vague on the surface. Thus, if you are a parent involved in a situation in which child support modification is at issue, you understandably may wonder what is meant by “substantial” and “material.”

General Definition of Substantial and Material Change of Circumstances

When it comes to a general definition of substantial and material change of circumstances sufficient to warrant a modification of child support, the alteration in conditions cannot be something trivial. The change must be something that verges on or actually is quite life altering.

A court examines the nature of a change of circumstances on a case-by-case basis. In other words, the court examines the specific facts surrounding a proposed modification in an existing child support order. There is not a one-size-fits-all template applied to all cases.

Examples of Substantial Changes of Circumstances that May Warrant a New Jersey Child Support Modification

Considering examples of what are deemed substantial and material changes of circumstances that may warrant an alteration of an existing child support obligation can be illuminating and helpful in understanding what qualifies for a change. These potential substantial and material changes of circumstances include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Job promotion or a higher paying position
  • Changes in custody arrangement
  • Alterations in parenting time
  • Major health issue of child
  • Major health issue of a parent
  • Onset of disability of parent
  • Notable changes in expenses to care for child
  • Additional children a parent needs to support

There is some essential information that needs to be understood in regard to these examples of potential substantial and material changes of circumstances sufficient to warrant NJ child support modification.

The prospect of adjusting a child support obligation as the result of a loss of employment necessitates particular consideration. A variety of considerations come into play when an attempt is made to reduce a child support obligation as the result of a noncustodial parent becoming employed. These include:

  • The underlying reason for the job loss is a key consideration. There is not at all likely to be a child support reduction if a parent voluntarily left his or her job.
  • Similarly, if a parent with a child support obligation is fired from a job, the reason for the termination needs to be scrutinized.
  • There are also situations in which a parent with a child support obligation leaves a position of employment, obtains a new job, but fairy can be said to be underemployed. Absent a demonstration that such underemployment is through no fault of his or her own, a child support change is not apt to be in the offing.

At the other side of the proverbial equation is a situation in which the custodial parent enjoys some sort of work promotion or increase in compensation. Depending on the increase in the work-related financial renumeration, an adjustment in child support might be an option. In other words, if the salary or wage increase on the part of the custodial parent is rather significant, the noncustodial parent might be in a position to argue for a reduction in his or her New Jersey child support obligation.

Having said that, when a custodial parent experiences a career advancement, that can result in an increase in some other legitimate childcare or daycare related expenses. Thus, while there may be an increase in the custodial parent’s wages, a promotion may understandably necessitate at least some increase in other expenses, a situation that may result in a determination by a court that a child support adjustment was not suitable.

Health issues oftentimes to impact a New Jersey child support obligation. If a child experiences health issues, an increase in child support may be appropriate. If a parent with a child support obligation experiences significant health issues that legitimately impact his or her ability to maintain gainful employment, a modification of an existing child support obligation may be in order.

If you are facing issues relating to child support, an experience attorney at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen can provide you the assistance you require. You can schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney from the firm by calling (201) 845-7400.

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