Can Modifications Be Made to Settlement Agreements in New Jersey?

When spouses go through a divorce, they reach a decision on several marital issues. All of these decisions must be approved by a judge in order for a divorce to be final. This is even true for mediated divorces, as the judge reviews the couple’s agreements once the process is over and approves or denies them. Once a judge comes to a decision, is considered the law. This means that when family law decisions are made, spouses must legally abide by them and they can be enforced by a court order. While this may be true, courts also understand that a family’s circumstances can change. It is because of this that modifications can be made to a settlement agreement after it is decided to accommodate major changes in life. This can only be done if one or both of the parties involved can prove these changes are significant and ongoing.

Child Support Modifications

When children are involved in a divorce, support payments are often decided by the court. Parents have the right to request modifications to these payments if they can prove the necessity of these changes. A modification can either be an increase or a decrease in the amount that is required to be paid in support. Situations in which a modification may be necessary can include:

  • A change in custody arrangements
  • Loss of employment
  • An increase or decrease in income
  • If a child requires money for medical treatments

Spousal Support

Similar to child support, one spouse may owe the other spouse support payments. This is also referred to as Alimony. The amount paid is often decided by the court as well. These payments can be modified if there is a significant change in one or both spouse’s situations. This can be a change in the spouse’s ability to pay support or a spouse’s need to receive the support. Modifications can be made to this in the event of:

  • Loss of employment
  • A change in income
  • An illness
  • A spouse’s ability to become financially independent from the other spouse

Custody and Visitation Schedules

A child’s custody arrangement and a parent’s visitation schedule may also be modified. Like the other marital issues, one or both of the child’s parents are required to prove a major and change in their life in order to change the arrangement. As during an original custody case, a court will listen to both sides for and against modifying the arrangement and make a decision that is in the child’s best interest. Reasons for modification may be:

  • If one parent relocates
  • Any medical problems with the child or a parent
  • A change in a parent’s employment
  • Parent alienation
  • A negative change in the child’s school performance

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is looking to modify a family arrangement, contact the Law Offices of Paone Zaleski & Murphy today.

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today