Child Support

Child Support Reduction Denied-Decreased In Father’s Income Not Of Sufficient Duration To Establish Permanency

The case of Cronin v. Cronin, 20-2-8502, App. Div. is a family law, child support reduction case. In these appeals, calendared back-to-back and consolidated, the appellate reviewed a series of Family Part orders that denied two post-judgment motions filed by defendant William Cronin to reduce his alimony and child support obligations and determined that he had the ability to pay those obligations. Defendant argued that both motion judges erred in finding that he failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of changed circumstances. The appellate panel found no error and affirmed. Defendant, who owned his own business, was well aware of the decline in his business income when he agreed to be bound by the terms of the MSA. Further, the parties had provided for the possibility that defendant’s diminishing income would require him to use other funds to meet his support obligations by including such a provision in the MSA. The judge also properly found that the claimed decrease in defendant’s income was not of sufficient duration to establish that the reduction was permanent. The panel agreed that no material change of circumstances occurred that would warrant modification. The panel further concluded that any error in failing to conduct a plenary hearing on defendant’s initial application was harmless. Defendant applied for, and was granted, an ability-to-pay hearing along with a period of discovery. Defendant was then afforded a full evidentiary hearing at which he testified, along with his forensic accountant and his business and personal accountant. A second judge, who heard the testimony and carefully reviewed voluminous financial documentation entered into evidence at the hearing, similarly concluded that defendant failed to demonstrate a change in circumstances, and that the had the ability to pay his full support obligations.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 221 N.J.L.J. 1831 (December 7, 2015)

Filed Under: Family Law; Child Support

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