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Child support modifications require court approval

If a New Jersey parent is unable to meet a court-ordered child support obligation, he or she may petition the court for a change. A judge overseeing such a case would review the petition to determine if there is evidence of need, then grant or deny requests for modifications to an existing court order. A recent case in another state involved a woman whose ex had failed to pay child support for nearly 50 years.

She and her husband divorced in 1969. A year later, the man was ordered to make child support payments until his daughter reached age 18. Instead of adhering to the court order, however, the man reportedly wrote a bad check for the first payment, then moved to Canada and started a family with another woman. The man's former wife said that although she and her daughter lived a happy life together, they always struggled financially.

In New Jersey, there is no statute of limitations on unpaid child support claims. As it turns out, there is no such statute in the state where the woman in this case lives either. She decided to sue and asked an attorney to represent her.

The attorney said his client was very happy when the judge ruled that she could could the matter. The man apparently was never granted modifications, though the parties were ultimately able to reach a settlement. He must make a lump sum payment, then regular monthly payments thereafter, until the $150,000 settlement figure is fully satisfied. The woman said she hopes many parents facing similar child support issues will hear her story and gain the confidence they need to pursue their cases in court.

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