In the event you are involved in a child support dispute both parents are expected to provide financial support for their child(ren) in the event of a divorce or even if they are not married to each other. Whether or not the parents are married to each other, the child(ren) has/have a right to financial support from his or her parents that is enforced by New Jersey law. In the event a party denies being the child’s parent, a paternity test will be ordered by the court to determine the identity of the biological father.
Child Support Guidelines
In New Jersey, the applicable court rules instruct that the child support guidelines, which are established by statute, must be applied when an application to either establish or modify child support is considered by the court. The child support guidelines are based on the joint net incomes of the parents, the special needs of the child, if any, the child’s age and health, the medical expenses of the child and any other financial issues that are relevant to the case.
Only where good cause is shown may the child support guidelines be disregarded. Good cause consists of (a) the presence of relevant factors which may make the guidelines inapplicable or subject to modification, and (b) the fact that an injustice would result from the application of the guidelines. In all cases, the determination of good cause shall be within the sound discretion of the court. This court rules require that a child support worksheet shall be filed with any order or judgment that includes child support that is.
In Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J.139 (1980), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that our Courts have the equitable power to modify child support orders when “changed circumstances” are demonstrated. Therefore, child support orders are only concerned with the present obligations of former spouses and they are always subject to review and modification where there is a prima facie showing of “changed circumstances.”
Retroactive Modification of Child Support Prohibited by Statute
The law of New Jersey contains an “anti-retroactivity” statute relative to child support, This statute states the following in pertinent part:
[N]o payment or installment of an order for child support, or those portions of an order which are allocated for child support established prior to or subsequent to the effective date of [N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23a], shall be retroactively modified by the court except with respect to the period during which there is a pending application for modification, but only from the date the notice of motion was mailed either directly or through the appropriate agent. The written notice will state that a change of circumstances has occurred and a motion for modification of the order will be filed within 45 days. In the event a motion is not filed within the 45-day period, modification shall be permitted only from the date the motion is filed with the court. N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23a.
In accordance with this statute, a court may retroactively modify a parent’s child support obligation under an existing order back to the filing date of an “application for modification,” or forty-five days earlier upon service of advance written notice. One of the fundamental purposes supporting the anti-retroactivity statute is to provide the opposing party with fair and reasonable advance notice of any proposed modification of a child support order, so that he or she may adequately prepare, plan, and respond accordingly.
When you are involved in a child support dispute it can be a difficult and emotional process. At my law office, you will get the individual attention that you are your case deserve from me. I will be with you every step of the way and answer all of your questions. I understand that this is your case and it is of the utmost importance to you because it affects your child. I will not let you down because I will fight for all of your rights in your case