How to handle a child support review in New Jersey

Understanding Child Support Reviews in New Jersey

Navigating the complexities of child support can be a daunting task for many parents. In New Jersey, child support is determined by a set of guidelines that consider both parents' income, the needs of the child, and other relevant factors. However, circumstances change, and a previously determined child support arrangement might no longer be appropriate. That's where a child support review comes into play.

What Triggers a Child Support Review?

A child support review can be initiated for several reasons, including significant changes in either parent's income, changes in custody arrangements, or changes in the needs of the child. In New Jersey, either parent can request a review of the current child support order every three years or when there is a demonstrable change in circumstances.

Steps to Handle a Child Support Review

  1. Gathering Documentation: Prepare all relevant financial documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, and evidence of childcare expenses. Accurate and complete documentation is essential to ensure a fair review process.
  2. Filing a Motion: To initiate a review, you must file a motion with the court that issued the original child support order. This motion should detail the reasons for requesting the review and include supporting evidence.
  3. Serving the Motion: Once filed, you must serve the motion to the other parent, giving them an opportunity to respond. They may agree to modify the support or contest your request.
  4. Attending Court Hearings: If there's disagreement over the modification, you will likely need to attend one or more court hearings. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their case before a judge.
  5. Reaching an Agreement: If both parties agree on new terms, they can draft a consent order reflecting the new agreement. If not, the judge will decide based on the evidence presented.

Throughout this process, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who understands New Jersey's child support laws and can guide you through each step.

Historical Context: The Evolution of Child Support Reviews

The concept of child support has evolved over time. Notably, in 1975, Congress passed the Child Support Enforcement Act as part of the Social Security Act amendments. This legislation mandated that states establish measures for setting and enforcing child support orders, which eventually led to states like New Jersey developing formal processes for regular reviews and modifications of child support arrangements.

Conclusion

A child support review in New Jersey is an important legal mechanism designed to ensure that child support orders remain fair and equitable given any substantial changes in circumstances. By following the proper steps and seeking professional legal counsel when necessary, parents can navigate this process effectively.