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Sour economy causes child support issues for both parents

Many parents have trouble receiving the payments that have been awarded to them in court. But with the economy in the state that it is, many noncustodial parents can no longer afford to make the child support payments they have been ordered to by courts in years past.

A 48-year-old man from Brick, New Jersey is one of the individuals who cannot afford to make child support payments. According to him, his $311-per-week support requirement is no longer reasonable because it was determined when he was working as an electrician. His wages then were much different than they are now as he has been unemployed for four years.

He says that working two jobs at $13 an hour would still not allow him to afford the weekly payment. Currently, he and his girlfriend live with a friend.

A 39-year-old woman who once lived in Brielle, New Jersey now lives in Brick at an adult community with her mother. Though she was awarded custody during the divorce two years ago, she cannot find a place for her and her three children to live because her ex-husband owes child support to her. She has attempted to return to school for job retraining, but has been blocked from receiving education subsidies because she already has an English degree.

According to her, the degree is a hindrance that has contributed to her economic stagnancy. On top of these issues, her lawyer recently quit because she can no longer afford the legal fees and her husband has filed for custody of the children.

The frustrations behind the child support system are felt not only in New Jersey, but throughout the country. If you recently lost your job and are no longer able to pay the court ordered amount of child support, or if your former spouse has had a significant change in income (such as a new job), it may be beneficial to see if your new situation warrants a modification of the existing support order. A consultation with a qualified attorney is the next best step in order to accurately determine a modification.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "Readers share their struggles," Amanda Oglesby, Dec. 29, 2011

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