Child Support Modification

Sometimes circumstances change after child support has already been awarded, requiring a need for a modification of child support. However, even if both parents agree to modify the terms of a child support award, the agreement must still be approved by a judge for it to be legally enforceable.

If the parents cannot agree upon the changes in child support, one party must file a motion to modify child support. The court will then hold a hearing in which each party give arguments for or against the proposed changes.

The general rule is that courts typically will not modify an existing child support order unless the parent requesting the modification sufficiently demonstrates a change of circumstances.

Depending on the circumstances, a modification may be temporary or permanent. The types of changes in circumstances that may support temporary modification of child support include:

  • medical emergency of child;
  • the temporary inability to pay child support due to illness, a medical emergency or job loss:
  • temporary economic or medical hardship of recipient parent.

Permanent modification of child support may be awarded when:

  • either parent receives additional income;
  • either parent changes jobs;
  • there is a cost of living increase;
  • either parent becomes disabled;
  • the needs of the child changes.

There may be circumstances where parents come to an agreement on the terms of child support without the need of the court.

Depending upon the laws of your state, there still may be the requirement that the agreement adhere to the state child support guidelines and be approved by the court.

The information on this website is intended as general legal information only and should not form the basis of legal advice of any kind. Individuals seeking specific legal advice should consult a lawyer.


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New Jersey lawyer turned blogger, podcaster and legal changemaker.