Modification of Family Law Orders
Families are never static. After a divorce, circumstances may change, and you may feel it necessary to change child custody, visitation, child support, or spousal support. It can be challenging to convince a judge that he or she should modify a prior judgment or family law order. If you need to ask the court for a modification of a family law order in Monmouth County, you should consider consulting an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you and put your best arguments before the court. The trustworthy attorneys at Goldstein Law Group have over 100 years of combined experience advocating for our clients' interests in family law matters.Modification of Family Law Orders
You can ask the court to modify a family law order at any time. However, when you file a motion asking the court for a modification, you will need to show the judge that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies adjusting the previous order.
The modification may pertain to different important issues. These can include, for example, the termination or modification of alimony/spousal support, changes to a custody and/or parenting time arrangement, or child support. Recently, in September 2014, sweeping legislation was passed which addresses certain of these issues, in particular, the concept of ‘cohabitation” by a dependent former spouse which can trigger the termination or modification of the dependent former spouse’s receipt of alimony.
The party asking for the change bears the burden of showing that the substantial change in circumstance is permanent, major, and not anticipated. Some common changes of circumstances that may qualify for a modification of a child support or spousal support obligation may include an increase or decrease in the income of either party, serious health or disability changes, losing a house or apartment, remarriage, new employment, significant changes in federal income tax laws, cohabitation, and relocation. In addition, the birth of additional children to the payer of the support can affect the child support amount. You will have to show specific facts and explain why the facts warrant the change you are requesting.
When you request a support modification or termination because you plan to retire “early” and want to reduce or terminate your obligation, a New Jersey court will also look at the benefits to the retiring parent, the impact on the child or former spouse of reduced support, your motivation and good faith, and other factors related to the early retirement.
Once a party proves a substantial change in circumstances, the other party may have to supply the court his or her new financial information. The judge will review all the evidence, rule on the request, and issue a new family law order that takes into account the factors taken into account with the first order. If the facts and motives are in conflict, the court may determine that a formal hearing or mini trial, known as a plenary hearing needs to be scheduled. This would entail formal presentation of witnesses, their testimony, potential other witnesses ( expert witnesses or lay witnesses), and the introduction of evidence at this trial/plenary hearing. However, if the party seeking the change cannot prove a the right to such consideration or cannot prove, on the surface the substantial change to the judge’s satisfaction upon submission of that party’s pleadings, the other party does not have to give the court new financial information and a hearing will not be conducted.
For example, if a parent is requesting a modification to a child support order, the judge will consider the economic circumstances of the parents, their sources of income and assets, their earning capacity, the health of the child and parents, the earning capacity of the child, the reasonable debts and liabilities of the child and parents, the legal obligation of each parent to support another person, such as a child from a different marriage, and other relevant factors.Seek Advice from a Middlesex County Lawyer on a Family Law Matter
At Goldstein Law Group, our family law attorneys have assisted individuals throughout Middlesex County and elsewhere in New Jersey. We can help you ask for the modification you need with regard to child support, alimony, or other family law orders. You can contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form. We have served clients from communities such as Old Bridge, Rumson, and Manalapan.