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When a significant change of financial circumstances or parenting time occurs, the Guidelines should ordinarily

When a significant change of financial circumstances or parenting time occurs, the Guidelines should ordinarily be consulted, even if the paying parent originally chose to provide above-Guidelines support. Musico v. Musico, 426 N.J. Super. 276, 279 (Ch. Div. 2012). Rule 5:6A indicates that the Guidelines may be “disregarded by the court only where good cause is shown. Good cause shall consist of . . . the presence of other relevant factors which may make the guidelines inapplicable . . . .” Note 2 to the Guidelines references Rule 5:6A, indicating that the “[G]uidelines must be used as a rebuttable presumption to . . . modify all child support orders.” Child Support Guidelines, Pressler & Verniero, Current N.J. Court Rules, Appendix IX-A to R. 5:6A at 2541 (2013). Note 3 indicates that “[i]f the court finds that the guidelines are inappropriate in a specific case, it may . . . disregard the guidelines . . . .” Ibid.

When there is an existing aboveguideline agreement followed by an application to reduce child support, a court must not simply apply a rote formula which can lead to inequitable results and damage the financial stability in the children’s primary home. Rather, the court must strive for fairness to both parties by carefully considering all of the facts and comparative equities in each particular case. While there may be some cases where equity requires a child support reduction from an above-guideline level down to guideline level, not all cases require such a result.

[Musico, supra, 426 N.J. Super. at 294.]

NOTE from Paul G. Kostro, Esq.: If you are interested in Mediation; or have issues relating to Divorce, Domestic Violence, Child Support or Other Legal Matters, please call me to schedule an appointment — I can be reached by telephone at (908)486-2200; or by Email. [HOME]

NOTE: This Blog/Blawg, NJ Family Issues, is managed by Paul G. Kostro, Esq., an attorney/lawyer/mediator in Linden, Union County, New Jersey.

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