What happens to child support when situations change?

New Jersey parents who pay or receive child support might, over the years, find that the amount of child support paid or received needs to change. The circumstances that lead to this include the children's changing needs, medical issues or income changes due to unemployment or a change in employment.

Struggling over child support payments is a common issue as only 45.3 percent of the 7,256,000 custodial parents who were granted child support received the full amount awarded. For parents who pay child support, the change in circumstances might result in not paying the full amount and then owing back pay. However, there are legal steps that parents can take to request a change in amount.

When a parent seeks a court-approved change to the amount he or she pays or receives in child support, that person must first contact the Child Support Enforcement Office in the state in which the support was awarded and file a motion to request a modification due to a change in situation. It is recommended that a court officially grants the modification, and experts recommend avoiding verbal agreements as they run the risk of not being recognized later in court if there is a dispute over the amount that is owed. Modifications might be granted several times over the years that support is paid and can be requested by either the parent who pays or receives the support.

Individuals who are seeking a change in their child support amounts might also consider seeking the advice of a lawyer with family law experience who can provide guidance about the way child support is calculated in their state. An attorney can also offer additional legal support related to any family law issues that might arise.

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