By Christine Fitzgerald
COVID-19 has flipped our worlds upside down. We know from our clients how particularly difficult this time is for separated or divorced couples as they face their very own unique set of challenges, including unemployment or a reduction in income due to the pandemic. These events can lead to a recalculation or modification of child support.
In the state of New Jersey, child support is the right of the child, not the parent. And although child support is reviewable and subject to modification upon a change in circumstances, it is not always so simple. In order for a change in circumstances to warrant a modification, the parent requesting the modification of child support must prove that there has been a change in circumstances and that the change is not temporary. A showing of a future expected change in circumstances is generally not enough to warrant modification.
Seiden Family Law wants to help arm you with the knowledge that you need if you find yourself in this position:
- In order for a change in circumstances to warrant a modification of child support, the parent requesting the modification has the burden to make an initial showing that there has been a change in circumstances and that the change is not temporary. A showing of a future expected change in circumstance generally does not warrant modification.
- The issue of whether the following changes of circumstances will be considered temporary or not will be fact sensitive: employment furloughed or terminated; income reduction for employees or business owners; business owners that have had an increase in expenses; and parents that have suffered a loss of investment income.
- Parties must provide documentation for specific circumstances such as severance agreements; internal memos regarding furloughs, reductions in salaries, or layoffs; letters of termination; proof of increase in business expenses; proof of investments and investment income; and proof of decrease in revenue/income.
- If a party is unemployed, they must provide proof of attempts to obtain new employment, and any other documents that show that the change in circumstances is not temporary.
If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties around child support modification, Seiden Family Law is here and available to address this timely topic and answer any questions that you may have. We always put family first and will lead the way to help you navigate this difficult time.