Applying for a Reduction in Child Support

A spouse paying child support or alimony can file a motion to modify their support obligation. In order for the payor spouse to reduce their obligation, he or she must prove a permanent and substantial change in circumstances. The issue is what is a permanent and substantial change in circumstances which warrant a reduction in support.

In 2006, Mr. Larbig appealed the trial court's decision to reduce his alimony and child support obligation. He owned a company which he claimed fell on hard economic times. Mr. Larbig filed the motion to reduce his support obligation twenty months after the divorce. The trial court found that the timing of the filing was insufficient to demonstrate a permanent and substantial change. Additionally, Mr. Larbig had expanded operations in the months between the judgment and his motion. He appealed the trial court's decision. The Appellate Division denied Mr. Larbig's appeal stating there was "no brightline rule which to measure when a changed circumstance has endured long enough to warrant a modification of a support obligation.1"

In this recession, a paying spouse's job loss may not be enough to warrant a downward modification of child support or alimony. A permanent and substantial change in circumstance requires an analysis of the facts of each case.

 

1 Larbig v. Larbig, 384 N.J. Super, 17, 23 (App. Div. 2006).