When a pair of parents decides to end their New Jersey marriage, they are, of course, both still obligated to provide for the financial needs of their children. As part of child custody proceedings, a family court judge will likely issue a child support order. As with any court order in a divorce, both parties must fully adhere to its terms.
Unexpected issues may arise that make child support payments infeasible
If a parent who is paying child support loses his or her job or suffers a reduction in income, he or she may have trouble making court-ordered payments on time. In such cases, it is possible to file a petition to request modification of the court order. If a parent does this, the court will review the petition and decide whether it merits a change in the existing court order.
Other legitimate reasons for requesting child support modification
In addition to loss of income, the court may consider other factors as legitimate reasons to modify a child support order. For instance, if the parent making payments has remarried and is supporting stepchildren in his or her household, the court might or might not consider the change in his or her financial status a valid reason for requesting that child support payments be lowered. It should be duly noted, however, that unless and until the court grants a modification request, the existing court order stands, and the parent in question must continue to make payments on time, no matter what changes have occurred in his or her personal life.
If an issue arises that a parent cannot resolve
Signing a divorce settlement, child custody or child support agreement in no way guarantees that legal problems will not arise down the line, especially if one parent refuses to adhere to the terms of an agreement. In those circumstances, a concerned parent has every right to request a meeting with an experienced family law attorney. Such an attorney is well-versed in applicable laws and can make recommendations to help protect parental rights and children’s best interests.