Can Alimony and Child Support be modified?

Author : Joseph Franks | Published On : 14 Oct 2021

Child support and Alimony are two important aspects of divorce, which must be clearly addressed in the divorce agreement. The particulars of child and spousal support can be decided by the divorcing parties themselves in a collaborative divorce. If the divorce is contested or litigated, the family court shall be in charge of settling these matters. Court-ordered payments are an obligation that cannot be ignored. The partner with higher income is required to pay alimony in monthly installments or as a lump sum. The amount and duration of alimony payments depends on several factors, such as the age, health, education/skill, and earning capacity of the receiving party.

Child support is paid to the parent who acquires primary or full physical custody of the child. Both parents are equally responsible for childcare, so what percentage of the child support amount each parent pays depends upon their gross income. Individuals who do not pay child support and alimony are subject to harsh legal consequences. Child support and alimony debt cannot be erased by filing bankruptcy either. If you are unable to pay for a legitimate reason, you must appeal to court for some sort of concession.

The probability of being approved for modified child support or alimony is greater if you have been making timely payments for several years in the past. Times change, so it seems plausible that a recent development in your life has made it difficult to bear the expenses like earlier. You can qualify for reduction in child support or a waiver for alimony under the following circumstances:

1. Loss of Employment

If you recently lost your job or got fired, your poor financial conditions are understandable. Money problems are the highlight in a phase of unemployment. Paying for spousal and/or child support becomes impossible when life becomes a constant struggle to make ends meet. Finding another job can be time-consuming, and might not be too easy either. The next company that hires you may not pay you as much as your last job. In some cases, unemployment can be permanent if you are unable to work because of an illness or disability.

Your alimony and child support obligations can be suspended temporarily, until you secure a replacement job or obtain another source of income. However, bear in mind that the law will exhibit no lenience if you remain unemployed on purpose to avoid your responsibilities.

2. Reduced Income

Changing jobs or losing a side hustle may lower your monthly income substantially. Reduced income could also be the result of a failed investment or withheld payment on rented/leased property. If you were recently involved in an accident, your injuries may have left you partially or completely incapacitated; hence, your earning capacity may have reduced for the time being, or for the long haul.

3. Unanticipated Medical Expenses

Accidents happen without warning and the fatal ones have dangerous consequences. Most of the time, a person’s medical insurance policy does not provide full coverage for the treatment, so they have to pay the rest from their pocket. Healthcare is expensive and medical bills may put you in a place where filing bankruptcy is the only feasible solution.

4. Increase in your Ex’s income

If your ex completed higher education after the divorce and has recently scored a handsomely paying job, their contribution to child support must increase and what you pay them in alimony should be reduced or annulled. If your ex remarried or found a new partner capable of supporting them financially, you are no longer obliged to pay spousal support. If you are hoping to modify a predefined alimony and/or child support arrangement, contact Family Law Attorney in Hazlet, NJ, today.