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Category Archives: Child Support

Can I Reduce my Child Support Obligations While I Pursue a Higher Education?

Morris County NJ Child Support Modification AttorneysWhen a child support agreement is made during a divorce, that agreement will be based on the circumstances of both parents, and their children, at the time of the divorce. However, New Jersey child support law allows for modification of an existing child support order when certain circumstances change permanently, and substantially.

In this article, we will examine some of the more common scenarios wherein an individual may be able to reduce their child support obligations, and also seek to answer the question of whether or not a child support modification can be sought in the case that the supporting parent decides they will leave their job in order to pursue a post-secondary education, and through this, greater employment opportunities and income with which to better support their children.


Loss of Employment and Child Support Modifications

Child Support Modification Attorneys Chester, NJ

One of the most common scenarios wherein courts have previously granted modifications to child support obligations is when a parent loses their job, or suffers a substantial reduction in income. In such a scenario, courts may grant a temporary reduction in child support obligations until such time that the parent secures gainful employment once again, or possibly even a permanent reduction in child support obligations if the court determines that the parent will not be able to secure their previous level of income moving forward.

However, these reductions in child support obligations typically only occur when the income reduction of the supporting parent was involuntary. This means that if the parent knowingly chose to leave their job, or is capable of earning $100,000 for example but is choosing instead to work in a job which only pays $40,000, than that parent most likely will not be able to secure a reduction in their child support obligations. With this in mind, NJ courts, confirmed by the Appellate Division, answered the question of whether or not a parent who chooses to leave their job in order to attend a higher education program full-time can seek temporary reduction in their child support obligations in the case of Zavaglia v. Bray.


Can I Temporarily Modify Child Support While Attending College? Zavaglia v Bray Case Law NJ

Temporary Child Support Modification Lawyers Mendham, NJ

In the case of Zavaglia v. Bray, father Anthony Zavaglia sought to reduce his child support obligations while attending an online college, with the stated intent that he wanted to obtain the education necessary for providing a more secure financial future for his children. However, as both the trial court and the Appellate court found that not only did Anthony leave his job voluntarily, this change in circumstance was also only temporary, rather than permanent. As a result of this finding, both courts denied Zavaglia’s petition for child support modification, and in doing so, have now set a legal precedent for all parents wishing to modify child support obligations while attending university or college.

While it is certainly understandable why any parent would wish to seek higher education in order to better provide for their children, as the law stands in New Jersey, parents choosing to do so should not expect to be able to modify their child support obligations while securing said education.


Contact Our Morris County Child Support Modification Attorneys Today

Even though case law established in Zavaglia v Bray may prevent parents who are temporarily taking a reduction to their income while attending university from modifying their child support agreement, there are many other circumstances where a child support modification may be possible, and often necessary.

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to resolve child support and child support modification issues of all kinds across Chester, Mendham, Chatham, Harding, Morristown, and Morris County.

By practicing exclusively divorce and family law, our firm can focus on the issues most important to you, and providing you with the informed, knowledgable, effective, and compassionate legal service that you need and deserve when it comes to you, your children, and your financial futures.

To speak with one of our experienced attorneys today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, child support agreement, or potential child support modification, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 828-0829.

Child Support and Planning for College Expenses

According to the recently passed New Jersey law S-1046/A-2721, effective February 2017, all New Jersey child support agreements will automatically terminate when the child reaches the age of 19, unless the parents specify otherwise in their Morris County child support agreement. As this is the age that many children will begin attending university, accounting for the… Continue Reading

Ensuring Full and Accurate Financial Information during Divorce

During any divorce, it is critical that your Morris County divorce attorney has a complete and accurate picture of your marital finances so that they can help you to fairly decide issues such as child support, alimony, and most importantly, division of marital assets and debt. When both spouses participated in the management of family… Continue Reading

What Do I Do if I Can’t Pay My Child Support?

Raising a child in today’s society is an expensive venture. From the time a child is born, until the time they graduate college, parents are financially responsible for all of their children’s needs including food, clothing, shelter, and education. When the parents of a child divorce, this can place an extra strain on the finances… Continue Reading

Paying Child Support Directly to the Child

Child support is a critical component of any Morris County divorce settlement involving children. Child support is designed by law to protect the child’s best interests, but is usually paid directly to the custodial parent. Many of our Morris County child support clients ask us if it is possible to pay child support directly to… Continue Reading

Social Security Disability and Child Support

A disability can result in great financial difficulty. This is particularly true for a parent who is financially responsible for a child or children. In the case that a parent is receiving social security disability benefits, it can affect their child support agreement in several ways. In this article, we will take a look how social security… Continue Reading

Why You Should Never Make “Side-Deals” for Divorce Property Settlement Agreements

One of the most important documents you will negotiate for, and sign, before your divorce can be granted is what is known as the property settlement agreement (PSA). The property settlement agreement will outline your financial and parental rights and obligations following the divorce, and decides key divorce issues such as child custody, child support,… Continue Reading

Bad Divorce Advice Commonly Given to Women

Going through a divorce is usually difficult, both financially and emotionally. Issues such as child custody, child support, division of assets, and alimony can easily overwhelm you, and its common for people to turn to friends and family for advice in times like these. While many of your friends and family members may have gone… Continue Reading

Taxes and Divorce

Divorcing individuals often have questions about tax their considerations and how they are affected by their divorce. While most divorce attorneys will urge you to speak with a financial consultant about your post-divorce finances and obligations, we can look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding divorce and taxes. Should I file my… Continue Reading

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