Child Support

A Child Support Order Based on Shared Parenting Can Only be Modified Based on Noncompliance Over a Reasonable Period

In the New Jersey family law, child support, shared parenting case of Cowie vs. Cowie, 20-2-4773, App. Div. the plaintiff appealed from the portion of the Family Part’s order denying her motion to reconsider, modify and adjust the defendant’s child support obligation retroactive to the date which he ceased exercising overnight parenting time with the parties’ children.  Here, changed circumstances resulted from a change in the parenting time of the parties. The change in custodial status was in recognition of the incapacity of defendant and the impact of the incapacity on his ability to provide appropriate parental supervision.  At the time the orders were entered, there appeared to be no contemplation of the duration of defendant’s incapacity. The trial judge denied plaintiff’s motion based upon the “temporary” nature of the changed circumstances. Whether a time frame is temporary should be viewed through the lens of the purpose of child support to ensure that children receive the financial support that is needed. The Guidelines address noncompliance with a shared-parenting plan in conjunction with an adjustment to child support.  If the child support award is based upon shared-parenting time and there is noncompliance over a “reasonable” period, the child support award shall be recalculated to reflect the actual parenting time that is being exercised. Here, finding the time frame of the changed circumstances presented satisfied the reasonable time period consideration contemplated by the Guidelines; the appellate panel reversed and remanded the case.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 218 N.J.L.J. 480 (November 3, 2014)

Filed Under: Family Law, Child Support, Shared Parenting: Modification of Child Support Order

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