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Do I Have to Pay Child Support After Losing My Job?



Under New Jersey law, a parent is still legally required to make child support payments, even if he/she has involuntarily lost their job.  A parent’s duty to support their child continues (until the child is emancipated).  Therefore, you must continue to make your child support payments so you do not fall behind and end up being arrested.


There are circumstances where you may be entitled to have your child support obligation reduced.  In order to do so, you have to file a motion with the family court seeking a reduction or modification of your child support order.  In this application, you have to prove to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that would warrant a reduction in child support.   You also have to show that this substantial change of circumstances is permanent, not just temporary.  There are many instances where a loss of a job is only considered temporary (for example, 3 months), not warranting a reduction in child support.  However, there are also circumstances where a judge could find that a job loss is a permanent and substantial change of circumstances (for example, 12 to 18 months, spent diligently searching for a new job with no luck).  But keep in mind, It is a very fact-specific analysis, and judges rule differently.  


In addition to proving your job loss is non-temporary, you also have to demonstrate adequate and sustained efforts to find employment comparable to the time when the child support was awarded.  You cannot simply respond to one advertisement in a year’s period of time and claim that you have tried to find another job, but cannot.  Make sure you keep track of all your applications, and keep as detailed a list a possible regarding your job search process.  

This information is just a general overview of the topic.  You should consult an attorney for guidance regarding your specific circumstances.  If you would like to speak with a child support attorney in New Jersey about potentially reducing your child support obligation, contact The Law Office of Jill Jedrusiak, LLC today for a free consultation.  


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Toms River, New Jersey