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Can Child Support Be Reduced If I Have More Children?
If you’ve gone through a divorce and share children with your ex-spouse, your relationship with your co-parent doesn’t end.
If you’ve gone through a divorce and share children with your ex-spouse, your relationship with your co-parent doesn’t end. One of you is likely sending child support payments to the other. In addition, it’s a no-brainer that new events in your lives will impact your divorce decree and child support arrangements.
That’s why many divorced parents wonder if their child support payment is impacted if they have more children after the divorce. One thing you need to know is that in most cases, you can only establish or modify a child support obligation from the time you ask for it, so waiting to talk to us about your situation can cost you big time.
Therefore, if your circumstances change from what they were at the time your original obligation was entered, you need to speak with our experienced team so we can guide you in the right direction so you and your family are protected. But right now, let’s take a look at how New Jersey family courts handle such a situation.
When Can Child Support Be Changed?
Child support amounts are set by family court judges, but they aren’t set in stone. When setting the amount for child support, judges consider a variety of factors including both parents’ incomes, daycare, and medical insurance costs for the child, and the living arrangements of the two divorced parents with whom the children will reside. But what happens if those circumstances change?
You Can File for a Motion at Any Time With New Jersey Courts
Both parents have the right to file a motion with the court to change the child support payments following a divorce. This can mean that the parent paying child support can request a reduction or the parent receiving the child support can request an increase. Under New Jersey law, specifically NJSA 2A:34-23, NJSA 5:6A, the party who makes the change request must prove in court that circumstances have changed since the original support decree and that they’re entitled to a change in the amount of support received or paid. When this happens, the court uses the same New Jersey Child Support Guidelines that were utilized in the first place to make the new calculation.
The NJ Courts Consider These Aspects of Your Case
While each case is viewed individually, there are events that can rise to the level of major life changes that can bring about a new support order. These include:
- If either parent loses their job/becomes unemployed;
- Salary increase from their current job;
- Changes to parenting time (be it an increase or reduction);
- Additional children for whom the parent must provide support;
- Changes to how much money a child requires for their expenses; and
- Major health problems (including permanent disability) for either the parent or child.
When considering these changes, there should be one other aspect taken into account—these changes should be permanent. For instance, a parent cannot ask for a change because they temporarily are not getting as much parenting time as they previously did. Or, if a parent takes on a temporary job, then this will not change the parent’s permanent earnings from their main job. Once all these factors are examined, then the court will determine if a change is necessary in the child support.
Can Child Support Be Reduced If I Have More Children?
New Jersey law requires parents to provide for their children—all children. That includes if a parent has another child or children after their previous marriage is dissolved. Under New Jersey law, there’s a concept called the “other dependent deduction.” This means that any children of a parent are entitled to a portion of that parent’s income for the purposes of support.
So, if a parent has more children, then those children are also entitled to a portion of the income, meaning that the support for the first children should logically be reduced accordingly. This can also be the case if you marry someone new who has a larger family that you’ll be expected to support.
However, this isn’t something a parent can arbitrarily decide for themselves. If they have more children, they must file a petition with the family court to have their request for support reduction to be considered. We highly recommend that you retain a Smedley Law Group attorney with experience in this area to help you demonstrate that your new circumstances require a new appraisal of the child support.
If you attempt to change the support without going to court, you could face financial ramifications such as garnishing of wages and contempt of court. And, as each case is individual and has its own specific nuances, our experienced family law attorneys can help you understand what your rights are and how you can go about getting a modification.
Is There a Max or Cap on the Amount of Child Support I Have to Pay?
This is a very common question with a very simple answer: “No.” New Jersey has very specific child support guidelines, but they don’t give a mandatory maximum amount that a parent can be ordered to pay. They do, however, have a mandatory minimum amount that must be paid if a parent has a net income greater than $187,000.
Child Support Reduction Is One of Many Changes You Can Face After Divorce
It’s entirely possible that following your divorce, you can be faced with a wide range of changing circumstances—changes in income or job status, changes in health, and changes in parenting time. The addition of a new child to support is just one such changing circumstance and it can be grounds for a reduction in your child support. It’s imperative to seek out legal advice on this issue so you can follow the proper channels to have your child support modified.
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Woodbury, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.