Divorce, especially divorce with minor children, can be a very lengthy process. When the courts finally formalize the end of your marriage, they issue a divorce decree and final support and custody orders. These orders are more permanent than the temporary orders issued at the time someone files for divorce with minor children.

However, just because they are the final order in the divorce does not mean that the amount of support included in the order is permanent. Instead, either parent has the right to request a post-decree modification that changes the amount of child support that they either pay or receive after a divorce.

New Jersey routinely reviews child support amounts

Family circumstances and employment situations can change in a matter of days, which is why the New Jersey family courts routinely review the amount of child support ordered. Generally speaking, the courts anticipate parents requesting a review of support levels approximately every three years.

If there are more than a few months between when your income or financial circumstances change and when the state will likely review your child support decree, you may want to request a modification hearing sooner instead of waiting.

When will New Jersey consider a modification request?

Child support is a contentious topic that divorced spouses almost never agree on. It is common for the person receiving support to feel like the amount of support barely impacts the cost of caring and providing for the children, while the spouse paying support may feel like an unfair amount of their paycheck goes directly to their ex.

If the New Jersey family courts let people request modifications just because they were unhappy, they could easily fill every day’s docket with nothing but support modification requests. In order to ensure that the courts don’t waste time, they expect that anyone requesting a modification has documentation showing a substantial change in financial circumstances.

Examples of circumstances in which the courts will consider a modification include the loss of a job, a decrease in pay or retirement on the part of the person paying support. They may also consider modifications if the parent receiving support loses some of their income or begins to incur substantially higher expenses in their effort to care for the children.

Finally, it may also be possible for the parent receiving support to request increased child support in the event that their ex receives a substantial increase in their income, even if the parent receiving support hasn’t lost income or increased the costs of providing for their children.