Overview of Post-Divorce Modifications in New Jersey

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Divorce proceedings are seldom simple in any state, including in New Jersey. The parties often disagree about decisions related to property if one party pays the other party alimony and the amount of the alimony payments. Major disagreements may occur with issues related to the children of the marriage. Who has legal custody of the children? Who do the children reside with after the divorce? Who pays for child support, and how much should you or your ex-spouse pay for child support?

The New Jersey Court that awards the divorce decree hears issues related to the marriage and end of the marriage and makes decisions, or orders, for the parties to comply with in accordance with New Jersey Law. What is your recourse if your situation changes after the divorce? Situations and income changes may result in the need for post-divorce modification. Speaking with a Hackensack Divorce Lawyer who has knowledge of post-divorce modifications and has experience handling New Jersey post-divorce modifications helps protect your rights. Your attorney helps you to file the appropriate motions to seek a modification of the original order pertaining to the divorce.


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What Circumstances Qualify for Consideration of Post-Divorce Modifications in New Jersey?

Do you think there is no way to receive a modification of orders made by the court at the time of your divorce? Are you unsure if changes to your income or situation qualify as a reason for the court to consider modifying orders in the divorce decree?

New Jersey courts allow for consideration related to original orders made in an original divorce case. You need to know the types of situations that the court considers when deciding if you have a legitimate reason to ask for post-divorce modifications in New Jersey.

The New Jersey laws allow you to request a modification of the order in your divorce for several reasons, which include:


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  • To increase or decrease the amount of child support
  • To increase or decrease the amount of spousal support or alimony
  • To change the visitation or parenting time
  • To change the child custody arrangements of a minor child
  • To relocate the minor child or children to another state
  • To emancipate a minor child, which ends child support payments

Increasing or Decreasing Child Support Payments

Financial situations of the parent ordered to pay child support sometimes change from the situation at the time of the divorce. Either party has a right to go before the court to ask for a change in child support payments.

A non-custodial parent may have a new job that pays more than their old job or has other increases in their income. The custody parent may ask the court to increase the child support for each minor child.

The parent who pays child support may lose their job or temporarily decrease their income. The parent has the right to ask the New Jersey court to decrease the child support payment based on the parent’s new income level.

Increasing or Decreasing the Amount of Spousal Support or Alimony

New Jersey courts allow a former spouse to request a change in money paid for spousal support or alimony. The ex-spouse sometimes has changes in their income or living situation that the court agrees on warrants consideration of a post-divorce modification in certain situations.


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Changing Visitation or Parenting Time

Work schedules frequently change for parties to divorce. Perhaps the parent who visits the children or takes the children for parenting time has a change in work hours or moves to a location further away from the physical home of the children. The same situation sometimes occurs with the parent who has custody of the children.

It is nice if both parents agree to modifications in parenting or visitation schedules, but that does not always happen after a divorce. The court sometimes needs to intervene and issue a post-divorce modification of the visitation order.

Changing Child Custody Arrangements

The original court order regarding child custody does not always prove to be the best situation in the interest of the minor children after a divorce. Some other situations, such as one parent moving to a different area of the state, or another state or country, often warrant the need for a change in child custody.

Relocating the Children

Asking for a post-divorce modification to move the children to another state is a requirement when the parent who has custody wants to move the children.

Are you a non-custodial parent who wishes to protest the removal of your children to another state or country? Getting help from experienced child custody modification lawyers helps you to understand your rights and your options regarding relocating the children or other modifications to the child custody arrangement or court order.

Emancipating a Minor Child

New Jersey legislation provides for the emancipation of a minor child after a divorce. The State of New Jersey Department of Human Services explains that emancipation of a child occurs when the child is 19 years of age or is no longer a student, whichever occurs first. The court considers that a child is emancipated if they marry or join the armed forces.

You have a right to request termination of your child support in a post-divorce modification if your child is an emancipated child under the New Jersey laws.

What New Jersey Statutes Say about Alimony and Maintenance of Minor Children

2A:34-23. Alimony maintenance is the section that governs alimony and the maintenance of children under New Jersey Law.

A request for post-divorce modification related to alimony typically occurs when there is a substantial change in circumstances. You may seek an order for post-divorce modification of spousal support if you have a permanent and substantial change in your financial situation. You also have the right to request post-divorce modification of the spousal support order if your ex-spouse has a substantial improvement in income. Did your ex-spouse have a significant increase in income? Did your ex-spouse remarry? These situations often lead to a request for modification of a divorce decree.

The statutes indicate the amount of support and the period the parent needs to pay the support based on factors such as all sources of income and assets of each parent and the needs of the minor child.

Some other determining factors include the economic circumstances of each parent and their earning ability based on education, training, employment skills, and work experience. The age and health of each child and each parent are considered. The court considers each child’s and parent’s debts and liabilities when making support orders.

If the original circumstances change after the divorce, the court must reconsider any orders related to child support, spousal support, or alimony. The court explicitly explains the requirements for filing a motion or post-dispositional application after an original order.

Modifications and Enforcement of Divorce Decree Orders

Another reason one party to a divorce seeks the opportunity to go before the court again is when the spouse does not comply with the original divorce orders. If you are a person who has an order for your ex-spouse to pay spousal support, pay child support, to provide reimbursement for medical expenses, you have the right to expect to receive those payments.

Do not think that you have no rights. The court needs to hear that the ex-spouse did not comply with the terms listed in the order of the original divorce decree. An experienced attorney can help you file the motions for enforcement.

Some people think that they can file a post-divorce modification on their own without an attorney to assist them with the process. Do you know what motions you need to file for your post-divorce modification? Do you know how to word the request for post-divorce modification so that the court agrees to hear the case? Where do you file the request for post-divorce modification?

What if you moved away and now reside a significant distance from the New Jersey court that decided the divorce case and made the original orders? These are reasons to seek the guidance of experienced divorce lawyers who also have experience in representing clients who request post-divorce modifications.

There are several types of forms that you need to complete when you want the court to consider your post-divorce modification.

The Notice to Litigants is a form you complete and serve to your ex-spouse. You must include a copy of the motion for the post-divorce modification and the proposed order. You also complete a Confidential Litigant Information Sheet each time you file a new document with the court.

Certification is the complete form that provides the court with details regarding why you believe the court should approve your motion. You must provide factual statements. You must also submit a copy of the previous orders and the Certification form.

The Certification of Filing and Service form notifies the court that you served your ex-spouse with the required paperwork for the motion.

The Case Information Statement is a form you use to seek financial relief. It is best to speak to an attorney before you complete this form.

Letters to the Clerk & Filing Fee is a form that you complete and submit with all other documents when you file your motion with the clerk of courts.

There are certain rules and dates that you must adhere to when asking for a post-divorce modification. Divorce attorneys with expertise in post-divorce modification laws and procedures know these dates and regulations. Contact an attorney with the knowledge you need to seek the best possible outcome for your post-divorce modification.

Carrie S. Schultz

Carrie S. Schultz, Esq., the founder of Men's Rights Divorce & Family Law, is certified as a Matrimonial Law Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and practices solely within the area of divorce and family law. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law.

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