What is a Post Judgment Modification?
Post-judgment modifications are matters after a divorce. Child support and spousal support may be the most contested matters. The post-judgment interval follows all of the court proceedings and trials concerning entitlement to property, custody, and child support.
These post-judgment motions can give rise to new hearings and disputes which must be ruled upon by the New Jersey court. This basically means that there may still be things to fight about months or even years after the divorce has been finalized.
Post Judgment Modifications
Child support issues under post judgment usually stem from a change in income for either parent; such as an increase or decrease in wages/salary during post judgment, or remarriage. Below are some various situations that can arise.
Unemployed and/or Low-Income Parent
An unemployed post judgment parent may be entitled to post-judgment child support where the other parent is still working and has an increased salary. Note: Unemployment must last longer than 6 months before it becomes a post judgment child support issue.
A self-employed individual that had a decrease in income may not be obligated to pay post judgment child support.
A post judgment modification of alimony/spousal support can occur if there is a significant change in one party’s finances, such as retirement or loss of employment.
How & When Can Post Judgment Modification Happen?
Post judgment issues can happen when either party suffers some sort of financial setback after the divorce case was closed. For post judgment child support, the parent must first show that there was a different financial outcome than what would have occurred if they were still married, and then secondly it must be shown that post judgment income decrease (or increase) is not temporary in nature (that it will continue long term).
A child custody change of post judgment visitation rights can occur if one party establishes a residence in another state.
The post judgment issues are endless, but the post judgment standards to modify are not easy to get past. It is not enough that there has been just a temporary setback post-judgment that caused the change in financial status of either party. There must be more than just the post judgment “snapshot” in time showing what is happening in the present; rather it must also show what has happened between when they got divorced and the present (how long the current situation has existed).
Post Judgment Motions
When post judgment modifications become necessary (or requested) is when the side feels that they need an adjustment to the divorce decree, due to a material change in circumstances. The post judgment party must file what is called a post-judgment motion with the court in order to have the judge review and rule on their request.
The post judgment party’s attorney will draft up and file the post-judgment motion, which will outline the post judgment party’s reasons for wanting the change, as well as evidence to support their argument. After filing, the post-judgment party will have a hearing in front of the judge, who will then decide whether or not to grant the post-judgment requested relief.
If post-judgment litigation is commenced (filing of post-judgment motion), it is important to remember that post-judgment discovery will likely also be required. This means each side will request documents and/or take depositions from the other party’s witnesses in order to get a full understanding of what has transpired post-judgment (usually this is done to try and show that the post-judgment change is either permanent or temporary).
New Jersey courts will consider whether or not the post judgment change is permanent or temporary. If it is proven to be either 1) short-term & likely to return post judgment, or 2) only temporary in nature then the post-judgment support amount may be lowered or suspended until further relief can occur at another time before settlement or at trial.
As you can see, post-judgment motions can become quite complex, as there are many factors the court must consider when ruling on a party’s request. If you find yourself in a situation where post-judgment relief is needed, be sure to contact an experienced family law attorney who can assist you through the process.
Do you need assistance with a New Jersey Post-Judgment Modification?
If you’re currently going through a post-judgment modification matter, we understand that it can be difficult. That’s why our team of experts are here to help. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to guide you through every step of the process, from start to finish. So don’t go it alone – let us help you get the fresh start you deserve. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation!