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Child Support Modification
Child support modification is the process we use to recalculate child support due to a qualifying event some of which are outlined below. Keep in mind that laws on child support modification vary from state to state so its always best to speak with a mediator who can help you understand how the modification of child support would work in your particular case. The good news is if both parents are agreeable, child support modification can be a relatively simple process and can easily be accomplished through the mediation process without the need to go to court or hire attorneys.
Reason #1: A Change in Income
Some of the cases we see involve a simple modification of child support due to a change in the parties' incomes. In many of the child support formulas throughout the United States, the income of each party is a guiding factor in its calculation and therefore when one parties' income changes significantly and for an extended period of time, we see the parties return to mediation to discuss the modification of child support.
Reason #2: A Change in the Parenting Plan
Sometimes the modification of child support is necessitated by a shift in parental responsibilities from one parent to the other. In some cases, the number of overnights the children spend with each parent is a factor in the calculation of child support and so for example if the children were spending 7 nights with each parent in a 14 day period and now they are spending 12 with one and 2 with the other, the parent with whom the children are spending more time with, is incurring more expense and therefore, will need additional financial assistance to care for the children.
Reason #3: The Age of the Children
It's a fact: teenagers are more expensive than younger children to raise. One of the reasons parents will consider the modification of child support is to account for the increased costs associated with raising teenagers (texting bill anyone?!) By recognizing that you as parents want the best for your children, regardless of your marital status, you can work together on a child support modification plan that will ensure your kids have the financial resources they need.
Reason #4: Extraordinary Expenses
Take for example the parents of a high school junior (let's call him Steve) who wants to study fashion. Steve has an opportunity to study in Milan and do an internship his senior year. Steve needs $6,000 to do so. Dad is completely supportive and according to the terms of their agreement, is required to pay 60% of the expense which he will gladly do. Mom wants Steve to be a professional athlete and while she does have the 40% to kick in, she is not supportive of Steve's decision. The modification of child support in this case may involve us discussing what happens if dad wants to pay 100%? Is there some other expenses that mom is supportive of that she would be willing to pay 100% of? In this example of child support modification, we would be trading responsibilities and can make Steve a happy guy by sending him to Milan and to All-Star Baseball Camp. Lucky Steve!
While these are just a few of the more common reasons for child support modification, as every situation is unique, it's always best to consult with a mediator who can help you determine if the modification of child support is appropriate in your particular case.
In New Jersey, a separation agreement is any legal document signed by both spouses outlining the terms of the separation. Subjects resolved in a separation agreement can include child support, child custody, debt allocation and asset distribution. Notarizing the document ensures its validity, since there is no such case-type in New Jersey that provides for a "legal separation." Spouses wanting child support during the separation period, however, must file a claim with the New Jersey probation department.
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