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Seeking a modification to a child support order

When New Jersey parents split, one parent will likely be responsible for paying a certain amount in child support each month. This child support can be used by the children's primary caregiver to provide shelter, food, clothing and even entertainment for the children in addition to helping with other every day expenses.

If the parent responsible for paying child support suddenly experiences a significant change in his or her financial situation, the child support order can be modified. However, until the modification is accepted by the judge, the parent should do his or her best to continue to pay the original amount. If the parent fails to do this, he or she will be considered to be in arrears, meaning the other parent can ask the court to enforce the order. In this case, the court could seize the parent's taxes, garnish wages or have the parent's driver's license suspended.

When the parent experiences financial difficulties, he or she needs to request a modification from the court. Once the other parent has been served, a hearing will be scheduled. If the parent can demonstrate that a significant change in his or her financial situation has occurred, the court may grant a temporary or permanent modification to the child support order dependent on the circumstances.

There are things that can cause a parent's financial situation to change suddenly. For example, the parent could suffer a workplace injury and become disabled or he or she could be laid off. A parent could even be sentenced to jail, preventing him or her from being able to earn any sort of income. A family law attorney could assist with documenting the parent's change in circumstances and advocate for the parent in court in order to seek a reduction in the child support payments.

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