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Getting Child Support Payments Reduced When Your Income Decreases

Just when you think the economy is on the upswing, unstable financial markets around the world (think China) are bold reminders that you never know what you have until it’s gone. If you pay court-mandated child support, and you recently lost your job, your hours have been reduced, you fear getting downsized or otherwise “relieved of your duties,” you may be worried how to make ends meet.

After all, regardless of how bad your financial situation gets – even if you look toward bankruptcy for a fresh start – you won’t be able to have child support arrears forgiven. Like back taxes and college loans, child support payments are exempt when it comes to getting rid of debt by filing for bankruptcy protection.

Family court judges in NJ consider the income of both parents, expenses relating to daycare, healthcare, living arrangements, etc., when determining child support. The goal is for the judge to come up with a child support figure that is “in the best interests of the child.” That being said, New Jersey judges have little discretion when it comes to setting child support requirements. There are standards set by statute; the numbers use guidelines and formulas to calculate the “number.”

Judges know that there are some essentials all children require: shelter, food, medical care and education. The custodial parent is often entitled to payment (child support) from the other parent to cover these essential expenses. Family courts are governed by the standard that everything needs to be in the child’s best interests. The child needs to have certain essentials, such as a home, utilities, and medical care. If the custodial parent cannot provide for these needs by themselves, the other parent needs to pay child support to ensure these needs are met.

So, what can you do if you are facing a court order for child support that you can’t pay because your financial situation has changed? It is possible for a lawyer to go to court requesting a motion for child support modification. Getting child support is not an easy process. However, with a skilled and experienced family lawyer on your side, it’s possible to prove to a judge that you truly are unable to afford the court ordered child support payments. If the judge agrees to modify the child support order, you may have reduced payments or suspended payments for a period of time. This is a complicated area of the law, contact an experienced attorney for guidance.

First of all, most NJ judges will consider a child support modification if changes are permanent, substantial and couldn’t have been predicted. If your circumstances are temporary, or you are just anticipating have a change in income, it’s not likely a judge will grant a modification. Again, no two situations are alike. Contact a lawyer for legal advice.

When you contact Ronald Graziano from Graziano & Flynn, he will put together a case that will show the judge that your circumstances necessitate a change in child support payments. Once the judge agrees there is a significant change in financial circumstances, he or she will review the other parent’s current financial situation before ruling on a motion to modify the child support order.

As always, the judge puts the best interests of the child first. Therefore, the following things will be considered during a child support modification review:

  • Income and standard of living of each parent
  • Debts of each parent
  • Earning capability of each parent (education, skills, experience, etc.)
  • The responsibilities each parent has with regard to custody and making decisions for the child’s welfare
  • Education fees
  • Age and health of the children
  • Other issues including the financial responsibilities of each parent with regard to court-order support of other individuals

One major question child support payers ask is: how soon can a child support order be modified. You must wait at least six months to file a motion to modify. However, oftentimes, judges may not consider a request to modify until after a year has passed.

Contact Ronald Graziano for more information about modifying child support orders. He will review your particular case and help you determine next steps. If he feels you have a good chance at getting your court order changed, he will fight tirelessly for you.

Client Reviews
Mr. Graziano had my best interests in mind when he represented me. He is clearly knowledgeable and handled my divorce quickly and efficiently. I'd hire him if I ever found myself needing a divorce lawyer again.
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Attorney Graziano is one of the brightest and most compassionate professionals which anyone could work with! He is a great advocate and is extremely knowledgable of the judicial system. He made a very unpleasant legal situation a pleasant journey, and he helped keep things in perspective and in a positive light. I fully recommend him without reservation! Danielle
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Hiring the right attorney to represent your divorce case is one of the most important decisions you will ever make! I was fortunate enough to hire Ron to handle my case and had what I believe to be a favorable outcome. I based my opinion on achieving the goals we set in the beginning of the case and comparing my final outcomes to friends and colleagues that went through the process with other attorneys. Thank you Ron! Craig
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It seemed like my case took forever but I trusted Ron Grazaino and listened to what he had to say. Mr Graziano said that the insurance company was not being fair and that we should go to trial. The trial was very nerve racking however he eased my mind and killed them with proof and knowledge. My outcome of my trial brought me to tears of joy. I could never imagine such a good outcome. Listen to him, have faith and you too will be impressed. Robin
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Ron surpassed my expectations in my case. He always kept me in the loop, updated me with any change, and answered ALL of my questions.. And I had a ton! He was very knowledgable, honest, supportive, and calm. I was nervous every step of the way and he listened to each and every one of my concerns. He was always available by phone and email. He responded very promptly to every email I sent (I sent a ton!). Ron is an extremely trustworthy lawyer. Listen to what he says and have faith in him, you will be as impressed as I am! I couldn't have dreamed of a better outcome in my case. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to represent me, I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an amazing lawyer!!
His staff is amazing as well!!
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