A person’s financial situation can constantly change, this may have a dramatic impact on other areas of their lives—this may include less spending money, needing to move, or reducing child support. However, proving child support obligations need to be reduced can be a complicated process overall. In a recent New Jersey appellate court case, the court was tasked with determining whether or not to recalculate the father’s annual earnings—and thus the amount he would pay in child support—after a dramatic decrease in his income.
In this case, the parties were married and had three children. When the parties were married, the father earned between $300,000 and $1.38 million per year; however, the father was diagnosed with leukemia. The father contends that the cancer diagnosis—along with the travel, stress, and time away from the family—impacted his yearly earnings. At the time of the divorce, the parties agreed to impute an annual income of $500,000 to the father and $35,000 to the mother; this would mean the father would pay $4,000 per month in child support for the three children. The father’s yearly earnings then dramatically declined to $82,000 and then $12,000 in the years following the divorce.
The father now argues that the court erred in calculating child support payments by overemphasizing his yearly income, along with not taking into account the health insurance premiums he paid for the children. Considering the oldest two children had also left to go to college, the father argued that this change in living circumstances should alter his monthly payments to a lesser amount.