If you are seeking to modify your child support obligation, it is best to file your application with the Court as soon as possible. New Jersey law indicates that child support obligations can only be modified retroactive to the date that the application for modification was filed (unless the modification of child support is as a result of a child’s emancipation). This law further impacts the payor more than the payee, as the Courts have clarified that this anti-retroactivity statute was meant to apply to modifications which would decrease a child support obligation. Logically, it seems that the Court wants to avoid applications that would lead to overpayments that would need to be returned to the payor from the payee. Further, as child support is a benefit to the child, Courts would be hesitant to force the return of overpayments. Lastly, the anti-retroactivity statute encourages timely filing.
In the event that circumstances arise which would warrant a downward modification of child support, it is important that the payor file the application as soon as possible in order to receive the full benefit of the downward modification. Again, the Court will not modify child support retroactive to the date that the circumstances arose. If you are seeking to modify your child support obligation, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney for guidance. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.