Child support is money a non-custodial parent sends to a custodial parent to help pay for their child(ren)’s needs and well-being. Generally, child support obligations in New Jersey last until the child reaches the age of 17 or completes high school. However, individual circumstances, such as physical or mental special needs, may dictate support to continue past the age of 18.
How is Child Support Established in New Jersey?
It doesn’t matter if parents were married and divorced or never married at all. The State of New Jersey sees both situations equally applicable and the law is designed to put the child’s welfare as a priority as a general viewpoint. Factors considered when establishing the amount of child support to be paid include any basic necessities including but not necessarily limited to:
- Food, clothing, and shelter
- Health insurance
- Basic education expenses
- Childcare costs
- Medical expenses (out of the ordinary)
- Travel expenses associated with visitation
- Generally, the court will also consider any other determining factors that support the child(ren)’s best interests
“Child support issues almost always have some sort of conflict between the two parents. While it’s possible, it’s rare an ex-couple will come to a child support agreement on their own. Even if they do, there is always the risk the parent paying child support will default and the custodial parent will have a difficult time collecting since a legal agreement hadn’t been established. To legally establish child support and the amount to be paid, an agreement can be determined through mediation or in a court of law.”Casey Breslow, New Jersey Family Lawyer, Breslow Law Offices
Using Mediation to settle New Jersey Child Support Issues
Mediation is a structured environment where couples can settle any disputes they have about child support. The philosophy of meditation is rooted in what’s best for the child and an intermediary works to help the parents come to an amicable agreement without having to go to court. Many parents choose this as an initial option because it avoids a potentially lengthy and costly litigation process.
In mediation sessions, parents can openly discuss the needs of their children, including schooling, medical care, special needs, or other situations where children require financial support and work together to come to a fair and agreeable arrangement. Mediation is often viewed as a favorable solution because the parents can come to an agreement through discussion and both parties have an understanding which can lead to fewer disputes in the future.
Going to Court to Settle NJ Child Support Disputes
In some situations, parents cannot come to a resolution of child support issues on their own or in mediation and the dispute goes to litigation. This means the case will go in front of a judge to establish a Court Order which outlines the amount of child support the non-custodial parent must pay on a set schedule. The State of New Jersey uses a child support calculation model called the “Income Shares Model.”
- Child support is considered the duty of both parents
- Children are entitled to share in their parents’ current income
- Even if a parent doesn’t have contact with a child, they are still responsible to contribute financially to the well-being of the said child
This set of specific guidelines is established to ensure children are adequately cared for financially in the same lifestyle they would have if they resided in a two-parent household. Factors the court takes into consideration when determining the amount of child support to be paid include each parent’s income, costs of medical insurance, daycare expenses, and living arrangements for the children. The court may also take into consideration any other factors they deem to be relevant.
Legal Requirements to Ensure Child Support is Paid
The non-custodial parent can pay support directly to the custodial parent or the case can be monitored by New Jersey’s Child Support Enforcement Program which is administered by the Office of Probation Services. This department has the authority to enforce child support payments if financial obligations haven’t been paid. A non-custodial parent is required to complete child support payments even after falling into arrears, even if the obligation of child support has been terminated.
If the parent ordered to pay child support neglects this responsibility, they’ll face consequences. Under New Jersey law, unpaid child support can result in an arrest warrant being issued, driver’s license suspension, income withholding, a negative mark on a credit report, denial of a passport application, seizure of a tax refund, professional or recreational license suspension, court enforcement, and court issuance of an order of immediate repayment.
How a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer Can Help
A custodial parent can make a formal request to receive child support on their own, but the process requires numerous worksheets and forms to be filed. A New Jersey child support lawyer can help navigate this complex process and is also able to help resolve any issues that arise along the way. For instance, custodial parents may run into problems such as desertion of the non-custodial parent, paternity disputes, or an unwillingness of the other parent to provide child support. A knowledgeable New Jersey child support attorney can assist through the entire process of establishing and/or enforcing child support.
The Breslow Law Offices have many years of New Jersey family law experience, including child support. They’ll work hard to ensure your children receive the financial support they deserve. Attorney Roy W. Breslow has been practicing law for over 45 years and has served as a prosecutor, deputy attorney general, and a criminal defense attorney. Attorney Casey Breslow has worked in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and joins her father’s practice with the goal to provide New Jersey parents the financial help they need to ensure their children are well taken care of.
Through their combined knowledge and experience of child support and other related family court issues, the Breslows are able to provide top-notch service to their clients. To learn more about obtaining child support or modifying an order or to receive a free consultation about another family law matter, contact the Breslow Law Offices today.