Enforcing Child Support

Enforcing Child Support

Child Support Enforcement Attorneys Bergen County, NJ

Experienced Child Support Enforcement Lawyers

New Jersey’s child support guidelines were created to help standardize child support settlements in divorces across the state. These guidelines expressly outline which type of expenses need financial support from both parents after a divorce, and how much each parent is expected to contribute based on a variety of factors related to each parent’s earnings and financial obligations.

While child support payments have been mostly standardized within the state of New Jersey, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your former partner will abide by the terms of the final child support agreement you both signed. This may come in the form of not making regular or complete payments, or even not using child support for its intended purpose. When one parent or the other does not abide by the terms outlined in their child support settlement, they are in direct violation of a court order, and there are a variety of legal actions that a parent can take to ensure that their children are receiving the financial support they need and deserve.

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping parents enforce their child support agreements, and in many cases recover financial damages caused by the child support violation itself in towns across Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Teaneck, Paramus, and Fort Lee.

Enforcing a Child Support Agreement

Parents who are not receiving full or regular child support payments according to the terms of their child support agreement have two options at their disposal:

The first option is through the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS), a unit of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. If your child support agreement was written so that your child support payments are made/received through the OCSS, their agents will take automatic actions towards enforcing your agreement should payments fall more than two weeks behind.

Conversely, even if your child support agreement was written so that parents pay/receive child support directly to one another, a parent can still request the OCSS to intervene in cases where child support payments are not being made. However, given that the OCSS is a public institution, concerned parents may not always receive the personal or timely attention that they need in such an important matter.

For this reason, parents who are not receiving their agreed-upon child support payments, along with the help of an experienced Bergen County child support enforcement attorney, can also file a motion with the courts asking for their intervention in the matter.

Child Support Enforcement Lawyers File Court Motions

Whether you file a motion for child support enforcement with the family court, or a motion is filed on your behalf by the OCSS, New Jersey judges have a great deal of authority and discretion when it comes to ensuring that child support orders are enforced. Since the paramount determining factor in any family law matter involving children is the best interest of the child, courts and judges will not hesitate to take any action they feel effectively encourages a parent’s compliance with an existing child support order.

Some of the potential actions a court can take to enforce a child support agreement include:

  • Suspension of a driver’s license or passport renewal
  • Suspension of a professional license such as a Commercial Driver’s License or a license to practice law
  • Direct garnishment of wages
  • Seizure of assets from a bank account
  • Liens placed on valuable assets
  • Seizure of monetary awards like tax refunds, lottery winnings, or a personal injury settlement

These actions have proven effective in the past, and one or more will usually be taken against first-time offenders. However, courts also have the authority to take even more severe action, and often do in cases of repeat child support violation offenses. These actions include:

  • Reporting the violating parent to credit agencies, drastically harming their credit score
  • Issuing a warrant for their arrest, resulting in mandatory jail time

Finally, courts also have the authority to create what they think is a realistic plan for the parent making the child support payment to repay all missing support (arrearages), and also potentially order that this same parent pay for the other parent’s legal expenses involved with the child support enforcement process, and even interest on the missing/late child support payments as well.

Of course, the most important thing during any child support enforcement proceeding is to have knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel to help you better understand the requirements, your options, and to help you represent your unique needs and concerns to a court of law.

My Child Support Payments are Not Being Used to Support the Children

Finally, it can sometimes be the case that one parent feels that the child support they are providing to the custodial parent of the children is not being put to good use. Sometimes, a custodial parent spends the support unnecessarily and fails to leave enough for the essentials. In the worst cases, a parent may not even use the support for their children at all.

This particular area of child support enforcement is particularly sensitive and often difficult to navigate. A parent who claims their children are not receiving the financial support that they deserve may find themselves obligated to pay even more financial support, rather than take any actions against the custodial parent.

The law’s understanding is that child support payments are the property of the receiving parent–not the children. With this in mind, it is possible to prove that the supported parent is not using child support wisely or effectively, but doing so generally requires extensive investigation and financial analysis. However, with the help of a Bergen County child support attorney, you may prove that the custodial parent is irresponsible with their child support payments. From there, you can potentially modify the existing child custody agreement for the supporting parent to spend more time with the children, and thus pay less in child support.

Contact Our Hackensack Child Support Enforcement Lawyers Today

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to draft fair and realistic child support agreements, modify those child support agreements when circumstances change and enforce child support agreements when their terms are not being adhered to.

By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our firm can focus on providing each of our clients with the informed and effective legal counsel that they need and deserve in matters so critical to their future, and the future of their family as a whole. We believe that by keeping our clients highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we can better understand their exact needs and concerns, and work towards securing the resolution that best meets those needs and concerns.

To speak with our family law team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child support agreement, a child support modification, or your options for enforcing your child support agreement, contact our firm.

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