Nearly everyone goes through times when money is tight. In many cases, you can juggle your bills and debts, keeping your creditors happy until things are back to normal. One financial obligation you cannot juggle is your child support payments.
During your divorce or separation from your child’s other parent, the New Jersey family court ordered you to pay an amount of child support based on numerous factors, including your salary, your ex’s salary and your other obligations. Any of these factors can change at any time, creating a difficult challenge. You may find yourself running out of money before you have paid all your bills or falling short on the amount of support you owe. What can you do to fix this?
When can I seek modification?
In situations like yours, many parents seek a modification of their child support amounts. This can be a permanent reduction in the amount you owe or a temporary change if you expect things to pick up in the future. A modification is not easy to obtain since the court already calculated what it thinks you can afford. Therefore, you will have to prove you are experiencing a hardship based on any of these or other factors:
- You have lost your job or suffered some kind of financial setback.
- You have remarried or you have had another child whom you must also support.
- You are dealing with health issues or medical bills that hinder your ability to pay.
- You have had a substantial increase in the amount of time the child stays with you.
You should also know that your ex may seek a modification for more money, such as if he or she is dealing with an increase in expenses for the child or has lost a job. You may find yourself before a judge fighting to keep your payments where they are.
Don’t put it off
If you are facing circumstances that are making it difficult or impossible to meet your child custody obligations, you certainly want to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. You may be able to work out an agreement with your ex, but it is important that the court approve any changes in payments.
Letting it go too long or failing to make your payments can devastate your finances and potentially place you in legal hot water. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to seek a modification that will relieve some of the pressure you are feeling.