Modification of Family Law Orders

Monmouth County Attorneys for Individuals Seeking Divorce

Families are never static. After a divorce, circumstances may change, and as a result, you may feel it is necessary to change child custody, parenting time schedule, child support, or spousal support. It can be challenging to convince a judge that he or she should modify a prior judgment or court order. If you need to ask the court for a modification of a family law order you should first consider consulting an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you and present your best arguments before the court. The trustworthy Middlesex and Monmouth County family law modification lawyers at Goldstein Law Group have decades of 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 after the court enters the order. This is accomplished by the filing of an application with the court known as a motion. However, when you file a motion asking the court for a modification, you will need to first show the judge that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies adjusting the previous order.

The modification may pertain to any number of 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 an increase or decrease in child support. 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 that person’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 was 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 changes in health or disability, 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 amount of child support that person is required to pay. A family law modification attorney in Monmouth or Middlesex County can help you show the court your situation’s specific, relevant 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 whose support would be reduced, your motivation and good faith in choosing to retire early, and other factors related to the early retirement.

Once a party proves that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the other party may also have to supply the court with 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 which were taken into account with the prior 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 (both expert and lay witnesses), their testimony, and the introduction of evidence at this trial/plenary hearing. Both the party seeking the change and the party opposing it would have the opportunity to present their side of the case to the court. If the party seeking the change cannot prove the right to such consideration, or cannot show the judge, upon submission of that party’s pleadings, that there has been a substantial change, 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 both parents, their sources of income and assets, their earning capacity, the health of the child and parents, whether there is any 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 any other factors that the court deems relevant.

Seek Advice from a Family Law Modification Lawyer in Monmouth or Middlesex County

At Goldstein Law Group, our family law attorneys have assisted individuals throughout Middlesex County and elsewhere in New Jersey. We can help you pursue 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. Our Middlesex and Monmouth County family law modification attorneys have served clients from communities such as Old Bridge, Rumson, Marlboro, Wall Township, Brick, Colts Neck, Holmdel, Monroe Township, Sayreville, Parlin, Aberdeen, and Manalapan.

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