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Hurricane Sandy and Child Support

Hurricane Sandy caused a tremendous amount of economic damage. In addition to the physical damage - billions of dollars in destruction of everything from cars to homes to public facilities - Sandy was responsible for an estimated $25 billion in lost business activity. Lost business activity for many people means lost income, as many businesses sent people home during the storm and the aftermath, and some people even lost their jobs.

The hurricane may provide excuses for some things, but it does not provide an excuse for missing a child support payment. Child support obligations continue, regardless of the weather. Even if there was a loss of income, that by itself does not get someone off the hook for a child support payment.

The only way to change child support obligations is to go back to court and ask the judge to recalculate the support obligation. A temporary disruption - missing a few days of a work - is not going to be grounds to recalculate the child support obligation. As a general rule, New Jersey courts do not consider a temporary change in financial circumstances as grounds for changing child support obligations. Even if a person were laid off, that could be considered "temporary," as the expectation is the person will find another job. The person would have to be unemployed for a lengthy period - and there is no firm guideline on "lengthy" - before the court would consider making a change.

When considering a change in support obligations the court will look at all the factors it looked at in setting the obligation in the first place, including the full financial picture of both parties and the best interests of the children.

So while Hurricane Sandy may have provided lots of excuses for missing everything from days of work to social engagements, it does not provide an excuse for missing any child support obligations.

If you have any questions about child support or other aspects of New Jersey family law, contact a family law attorney at the Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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