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Things to know when seeking court order modifications

Many New Jersey married couples are preparing for divorce or have recently finalized their settlements. It is not uncommon for judges to issue court orders in such situations, perhaps regarding child support or alimony payments. As time passes, former spouses often have the need to seek court order modifications.

If a parent is making child support payments, any number of life-changes may occur that impedes his or her ability to continue making payments on time. For instance, a sudden job loss or medical emergency could definitely cause serious financial distress. A paying parent might also be inclined to seek lower payments if his or her former spouse receives a substantial pay raise or marries again and adds income to his or her household.

No matter what exact details prompt a need for change, either ex spouse may petition the court to modify its existing court order when there is just cause to do so. No one is permitted to stop making payments unless the court grants permission. Even if someone has a legitimate need to lower to stop payments, if the proper legal steps are not taken to gain the court's permission, the person ordered to pay can be held in contempt if he or she fails in the obligation.

Seeking court order modifications does not necessarily mean the judge overseeing the case will agree that a change is warranted. The petitioner must show evidence of need. An experienced family law attorney can act on behalf of a New Jersey resident to request lowered child support or alimony payments or other modifications, such as seeking permission to move a child or children out of state or country.

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