How can I get my child support obligation dropped?

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How can I get my child support obligation dropped?

I had a child when Iwas 16 years old. For the past 10 years I’ve been paying child. I have had no contact with the child since birth. Is there anything that I can do to drop my child support payments? I have 3 kids of my own and really can’t afford to pay. I’m on welfare.

Asked on December 6, 2010 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It may be possible to have the amount of child support reduced, but it is unlikely that it could be eliminated.  Changed circumstances such as a change in income is an argument supporting a modification of child support.  You could file with the court an Order to Show Cause (court form)requesting a hearing on a  modificatiion of child support.   With the Order to Show Cause, you would also need to file an Application for Order and a Declaration (court forms).  The Application for Order and the Declaration would state your reasons for seeking a modification/reduction in child support.  These documents would be filed with a proof of service.  The proof of service is a court form or you can write your own.  The proof of service just verifies the date of mailing the documents to the other parent of your child.  It just says that you are over 18 and the attached documents were sent by first class mail unless otherwise specified to _______ (name and address of other parent) on _________ (date).  The date you sign the proof of service should be the same as the date of mailing and the same as the date you file the documents with the court. 

If you can't afford the court filing fees, ask the court clerk for a form which will allow you to waive the court filing fees.

Check with the court clerk regarding the names of the appropriate forms because NJ may have different names for the documents I have mentioned.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you can not have the obligation to support the child dropped, as you say.  It can be modified if in fact you qualify for a hardship modification which you might given what you have said here.  The only way that the support can be terminated in when the child reaches majority (18), is emancipated prior to 18 or if your parental rights are terminated by say the adoption of the child.  You can not voluntarily terminate your rights in order to avoid paying the child support.  The courts would not allow that.  So try the modification.  As for never having been in contact with the child, that can always be rectified.  It is never too late.


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