Divorce & Family Law Attorneys Serving Clients in Bergen County, NJ
New Jersey Child Support FAQ’s
Child Support is often a contentious issue for both married parents undergoing divorce and unmarried parents who are no longer in a relationship. Unfortunately, disagreements can arise with regard to the amount of support to be paid, when these payments should be terminated, if they should increase or decrease due to a change in circumstances, and what to do if one parent fails to provide the child support that he or she is required to pay. Some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to child support are addressed below. It is important to note that these situations may vary significantly, thus, seeking knowledgeable legal counsel based on your unique circumstances is highly advisable.
What You Need to Know About Child Support in New Jersey
How does the court determine the amount of child support payments?
- There is a specific formula and set of calculations outlined in New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines, which can be found under Court Rule 5:6A and Appendix IX. This formula is intended to account for a variety of factors, including the combined net income of both parents, the respective incomes of each parent minus allowable deductions (such as taxes, union memberships, and others), the child custody arrangement (i.e. sole custody vs. shared or joint custody), the age of the child, as well as fixed, controlled, and variable expenses such as health care, childcare, housing, personal items, travel, and entertainment. Having an experienced attorney evaluate the circumstances of your case can ensure that you are providing or receiving the appropriate amount for your child.
When does the responsibility to provide child support end?
- Typically, the law provides that your child support obligation will end when your child becomes emancipated. In most cases, this occurs when your child reaches the age of 18; however, his or her decision to pursue higher education may influence this determination. Emancipation can occur under a variety of circumstances, including if your child chooses to join the military, gets married, attends college, or continues to graduate school. It is important to note, however, that child support will not simply terminate when one of the aforementioned benchmarks is achieved. You must file a motion with the court to terminate the order of child support. Your attorney can handle this process for you and ensure that you are not considered delinquent on these payments in the future.
Does either parent have to provide support for a child’s higher education?
- New Jersey’s policies regarding child support and higher education are not expressly outlined, but instead, are assessed on an individual basis utilizing a number of contributing factors. When making these determinations, the court will consider each parent’s ability to pay, if the parents supported another child’s college education during the marriage, if the child is seemingly committed to achieving a college degree, the child’s financial resources (if any), the availability of scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial support, and many others. It is critical to consult with a knowledgeable attorney in these instances to ensure that your interests are thoroughly protected and that the court reaches an appropriate determination regarding your responsibility.
Can the amount associated with child support payments be altered over time?
- In some instances, a significant change in circumstances may warrant an increase or decrease in child support payments. If so, you must file a motion with the court for a child support modification, providing evidence to support a substantial change in employment status or income. In the case of unemployment, the paying spouse is not entitled to seek a lower-paying position or to avoid seeking employment to circumvent his or her child support responsibilities.
What if my child’s parent is not providing the child support that he or she is required to by law?
- If the court has ordered your child’s parent to provide child support and he or she is delinquent with regard to this duty, you can pursue rectification by filing a child support enforcement application with the court. New Jersey takes this responsibility very seriously and will go to great lengths, including seizing property, wage attachments, and many other means, to obtain the payments that your child deserves. With the help of an aggressive legal advocate, you can obtain child support payments, regardless of your ex-partner’s willingness to comply.
Contact our NJ Child Support Lawyers for More Information
We understand that your child’s well-being is your greatest priority. At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our specialized family lawyers will work with you to protect the interests of your most precious asset. For additional information and a free consultation, contact our firm today.