If you are subject to a spousal support and/or child support order but find that your financial situation has changed and making the required payments is becoming too much of a burden, you may want to speak with your experienced family law attorney in New Jersey to discuss whether filing a motion for modification due to changed circumstances is a good idea.
MODIFYING A SUPPORT ORDER
In New Jersey, the law allows even final divorce decrees and support orders to be modified when the paying party undergoes a significant life change that impacts his or her ability to pay the ordered support, whether it is child support or alimony.
COMMON EXAMPLES OF CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES THAT THE NEW JERSEY COURTS WILL CONSIDER
There are numerous life experiences that can amount to changed circumstances, at least in terms of a person's ability to pay a support order. Some common examples of changed circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Job loss and prolonged unemployment;
- Job change or change in pay scale;
- Loss of other sources of income;
- New disability status;
- Returning to school or job training;
- Severe medical conditions that preclude full-time employment;
- A significant increase in the receiving party's income; and,
- Relocation to an area with a higher standard of living.
Some changed circumstances apply to one type of support order but not the other. For instance, the court may consider the fact that a former spouse has remarried or is cohabitating and sharing expenses with a new partner when determining whether it would be fair for alimony payments to continue. Remarriage does not, however, affect child support orders. A parent cannot lessen child support responsibilities by remarrying or having more children.
CONSULT AN EXPERIENCED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY WHO HANDLES SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS
The bottom line is that support obligations are no longer fair and just if the paying party is unable to pay or must make tremendous sacrifices in his or her own life in order to do so. If you believe that you may need a modification as to the amount of support payments you are obligated to pay—or, in the case of alimony, if you seek to shorten the duration of the support order or end payments completely—consult with one of our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys today.