I Lost my Job. How Can I Modify my Child Support Agreement?

Losing your job can launch you and your family into world of uncertainty. When the weeks you have been out of work turn into months, reaching a year or longer, you could find yourself struggling with making all of your monthly payments.

If this is the case, consider filing a motion with the court to modify your child support obligation. It is on the parent experiencing the financial hardship to file for a modification. If the court approves of the motion, the parent then must prove that it is necessary by providing the court with all relevant information about his or her current financial situation. The child’s other parent must provide information about his or her financial status as well. The court, in making the decision to modify a parent’s child support agreement, also considers all other relevant information to the case such as the child’s personal needs and each parent’s other financial obligations. If the court determines that a modification is warranted, it will grant your request and modify your current arrangement.

The Process for Seeking a Modification

To seek a modification of your current child support agreement, you must file a motion with the court to have your agreement modified. With this motion, you must attach a copy of the order you are seeking to change along with all relevant current and prior information about your case, any necessary affidavits and briefs, and any other necessary financial information. As the parent seeking the modification, you will need to prove that you have experienced what is legally known as “changed circumstances.” Changed circumstances, in the legal sense, are lifestyle changes that are:

  • permanent

  • substantial

  • unanticipated

This means that if your income is reduced, the reduction must be permanent. For example, losing your job as an engineer and deciding to instead pursue teaching could possibly be grounds for modifying your child support agreement on the basis of reduced earnings and changed circumstances. Your change must also be substantial to the point that you cannot easily meet your previous financial obligations and you may not have planned or otherwise anticipated your changed circumstance, meaning that opting to quit your job in an attempt to reduce your child support obligation is not a valid ground for a modification.

Talk to your attorney about your unique circumstances and how they may affect your chance of receiving a modification for your child support obligation. Keep in mind New Jersey’s COLA rule, which requires that child support amounts increase every two years to match the rising cost of living in the Garden State.

Contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596 to learn more about the process of seeking a modification of your child support order. Child support is meant to provide for your child, not to bankrupt you. Our firm proudly serves parents and families in Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, and Burlington counties and will provide your family with the dedication and courteous, professional legal service that you deserve.

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