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Family and Relationships

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Home Page > Family and Relationships > Child Support > How to Change a Child Support Order > I am the parent who is supposed to be paying support > I have had a "change in circumstances" > Yes I have a copy of my most recent child support order

The docket number begins with FD


You are the parent paying support and the docket number of your case begins with “FD”. In order to change a child support order in an FD case, follow the directions outlined below. You may print a copy of these directions to take with you.

  1. Go to the family intake office of the county courthouse in the county where you got your original child support order. For a list of courthouse addresses where you go to file an application to modify child support order, click on the link at the bottom of this page that says "New Jersey Child Support."

  2. At the family intake office ask for the form(s) used to change a child support order in an FD case. A staff member will give you the correct form(s).

    NOTE – if you are incarcerated and cannot physically get to the courthouse you are permitted to use the post-judgment motion papers found at the New Jersey Judiciary's Web site (see link at bottom of page). However, all other persons must use the shorter form(s) provided at the courthouse.

  3. You will need to put in the form(s) all of the reasons why you believe the court order should be changed. Some examples of reasons for changes are:

    1. You are making less money than you were when the child support was last ordered.

    2. Since the date of the last order you were fired or “laid off” from your job.

    3. Since the date of the last order you quit your job.

    4. You are receiving unemployment benefits.

    5. You cannot work because you are sick or disabled.

    6. You are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD).

    7. You are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    8. You are incarcerated.

    9. The child’s other parent is making more money than he or she was making when the child support was last ordered.

    10. You have had another child since the last child support order and are supporting that child.

    11. Your child(ren) is/are emancipated. (Under the law, children who reach the age of 18 are presumed to be emancipated. However, this does not mean that your child support obligation ends automatically when a child turns 18. Many 18 year old children will not be considered emancipated because they are not yet able to support themselves or because they are attending college or secondary school. Sometimes the fact that a child under 18 becomes a parent will support a determination that he or she is emancipated. However becoming a parent by is not enough by itself to emancipate a child. Other factors must be present as well. In contrast, in rare circumstances a child younger than 18 may be considered emancipated if he or she is no longer financially dependent upon his or her parents.
  4. You should also attach any documents which support your reasons for your request such as medical bills, insurance bills, pay stubs, unemployment checks, bills for tuition, etc.

Procedure for Filing Papers and Appearing in Court

  1. Make two copies of your papers and file them with the clerk at the family intake office. Make sure that you get a copy back. The clerk will then serve the other parent by sending him or her a copy of your papers.

  2. A few weeks later you will receive a notice of a hearing and a date and time to appear at the courthouse.

  3. On the date of your hearing you will probably appear before a hearing officer.

  4. Both you and the other parent should be given a chance to tell your side of the story to the hearing officer. You should also give to the hearing officer any documents that demonstrate the change in circumstances that you are claiming. The hearing officer will then make a recommendation and record that recommendation in a new proposed court order.

  5. The hearing officer then gives the proposed court order to a judge for review. The judge reviews the order and, if it is proper, signs it.

  6. You should get a copy of the signed order and take it with you before you leave the courthouse. The hearing officer will make sure that a member of the court staff sends a copy of the new order to the probation department so they can be aware of any changes in the amount of child support that they are supposed to be collecting.

  7. If you disagree with the hearing officer’s decision or have a problem with the way he or she conducted the hearing (for example if the hearing officer did not consider documents that you brought or did not require the other parent to show proof of his income) then you should ask for a hearing before a judge. The hearing before the judge is supposed to take place as soon as possible after the date of the hearing before the hearing officer. Sometimes the judge will hear your case on the same day.

  8. The judge will hear from both you and the other parent and will then make a decision and record that decision in a new court order.

  9. After the judge signs the order you must get a copy of the signed order.
    The judge will make sure that a member of the court staff transmits a copy of the new order to the probation department so they can be aware of any changes in the amount of child support that they are supposed to be collecting.


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