What To Do In Order To Modify A Support Obligation
This will be the first of a series of articles on the CIS and its importance in a family case that will appear periodically in our website.
Do you want to obtain or modify a support obligation (whether alimony or child support) in a family division matter?
If so, the first step is to complete the Case Information Statement. (This is not to be confused with the Case Information Statement form required in civil litigation (NJCR 4:5-1(b)(1)) or the appellate process (NJCR 4:5-1(f)(2).)
Pursuant to NJCR 5:5-2, the Case Information Statement (commonly known as the CIS) is required to be filed the Court and served on the adversarial party. What exactly is this CIS form and more importantly, how it will be used by the Court in determining the merits of the client’s request?
As one judge has described it: the CIS is a snapshot in time of the party’s financial status. It includes their income (both earned and unearned), their monthly expenses and their assets and debts. The party is required to attach to their CIS, the following proofs of their income: the most recent tax return and a least three current pay stubs. The adversarial party (whether a husband or just a father) is also required to provide a CIS of their finances.
Based on what these two documents portend, the Court is capable of calculating or modifying a support obligation. Using the figures contained in the CIS, the Court can calculate child support by inserting them into the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. As for alimony or spousal support, the Court has more discretion and can arrive at a reasonable amount pursuant to the factors enumerated the recently passed legislation passed in the New Jersey: NJSA 2A:34-23(b).
The parties also have a right to review and request changes to the Court’s own calculation. However, both parties through their attorneys have the right to negotiate their own support obligations. However, the Court makes the ultimate decision as whether it is fair and reasonable. The bottom line is that the CIS is the basis for all decisions – whether by the Court or the parties themselves.
Pursuant to the rule, the Court has the right to dismiss either party’s pleadings if they do not file a CIS. That’s how essential this document is to the Court for it to make a fair decision.
If you want to apply for support or need to modify an existing obligation, the law firm of Vito A. Brunetti, Esq., LLC are experienced family law practitioners and knowledgeable in the preparation and filing of the CIS. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.