Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Why do I need an attorney for my child support modification?

Looking back on your life, it might be shocking to recognize the many twists and turns your finances have taken. From changing jobs to getting promoted to facing serious credit card debt, you've had to weather a virtual storm of monetary changes. Things will be no different, then, after your divorce.

During the divorce process, couples are asked to work out compromises on nearly every factor that can be disputed. From property division to debt division and from child support to child custody, these matters must be mediated and agreed-upon before the divorce is finalized. What happens, though, when you lose your job? You've already agreed to pay a certain amount of child support to your ex. Can this payment be modified?

In short: yes.

New Jersey courts recognize that financial circumstances are likely to change - perhaps even multiple times - in the years following a divorce. Fortunately, there is a legal process designed to help individuals come to a new agreement.

Unfortunately, many couples attempt to resolve the discrepancy on their own - figuring that they can reach a compromise quicker without involving the attorneys. While this might be partially right, a verbal agreement is not legally binding. Further, there are no penalties built in if someone reneges on their obligation.

If you go through the legal process, the court-sanctioned modification is a legally binding contract. And there are serious consequences built into this contract. From contempt of court to wage garnishment, if one party does not honor the letter of the agreement, he or she could face severe penalties.

For the peace of mind in knowing that your agreement is protected by the law - if only for that one reason alone - you should work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your original divorce order is properly modified.

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