New Jersey Court Orders Retroactive Increase in Child Support Where Motion was Never Filed

Hamilton v. Mamroud, N.J.Super.A.D. 2007(unpublished opinion).

The parties had one son together. They divorced agreeing to joint custody with mother having primary residence.

Eleven years after the divorce, in November of 2001, the Middlesex County Board of Social Services notified both parties that either could seek a review of child support. The mother notified the board that she was interested in the review.

Thereafter, the father was notified by the Board that it was gathering his financial information from his employer. The board filed a motion to increase support on November 7, 2003, and then again on November 25, 2003 asking the court to make the increase retroactive to November 25, 2001(the date of the original notice).

Referring to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56, the Court held that the November 2001 notice received by the father was equivalent to a formal notice of motion.

N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56:

No payment or installment of an order for child support…shall be retroactively modified by the court except with respect to the period during which there is a pending application for modification, but only from the date the notice of motion was mailed either directly or through the appropriate agent.

The Appellate Division upheld the Trial Court’s decision based on its interpretation of the statute and based upon the father’s financial change in circumstances.