Modification and Enforcement
Although the parties to a New Jersey divorce case may have entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement or Property Settlement Agreement which purports to resolve all outstanding issues, the Family Courts in New Jersey are frequently called upon to either enforce or modify these Agreements.
The most common post judgment modification motions usually involve issues of child support, child custody or visitation, emancipation, and college costs. As children grow older, or parents relocate, the parenting time provisions set forth in the Agreement may need to be re-addressed. Similarly, as the years pass after a divorce, the incomes of the parties may change, either upward or downward, and child support may need to be re-examined. A Property Settlement Agreement might make some general provisions regarding how college costs for the children shall be paid, but the parties may need assistance from the Court regarding the actual allocation of the costs or whether or not the college costs being incurred are reasonable in relation to the incomes of the parties. Finally, the parties may need the Court to determine the issue of emancipation, or when a child has reached the point of economic self-sufficiency so as to no longer be entitled to parental support.
Often times, particularly given the current economic climate, one party may seek to re-address an alimony obligation in light of a substantial change in circumstances which is permanent in nature, such as the loss of a job when the party cannot find employment at a comparable salary. In addition, a party paying permanent alimony might seek to end or reduce that obligation in light of an anticipated retirement.
Enforcement applications are filed when one party is not abiding by the terms of the Property Settlement Agreement. Perhaps the custodial parent is not allowing the non-custodial parent the visitation time set forth in the Agreement, or the non-custodial parent is not paying the child support or other expenses required under the Agreement. Another common scenario is when one party refuses to abide by the equitable distribution provisions of the Agreement, such as by refusing to sell the marital home when the Agreement provides for such a sale, or by refusing to cooperate with the division of retirement accounts such as pensions or 401(k)s.
Should you wish to discuss your post judgment modification or enforcement matter with an experienced New Jersey divorce and family lawyer, please contact the office of Jeffrey R. Brown, Esq. Mr. Brown practices divorce and family law in Family Courts throughout Central New Jersey, including Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Union County and Mercer County.