Like other states, New Jersey pays considerable attention to matters involving financial support for children of divorced, separated or never married parents. Child support payments are intended to contribute to the maintenance and well-being of children.
New Jersey laws acknowledge that intact families most often have different expenditures and resources than those where the parents live together. Nonetheless, children are entitled to support from both their mother and father. The allocation process is complicated and determined based on individual circumstances.
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are an extensive set of rules that are used to calculate child support payments. However, the court may make exceptions to the guidelines depending on the circumstances. The Child Support Guidelines contain worksheets and detailed guidance. Nevertheless, every child support case is different and distinct.
New Jersey Family Law Offices of DiFrancia & DeDona has extensive experience regarding the complexities of working to establish child support payments and their duration. Additionally, Our Law Firm has familiarity with enforcing child support orders and seeking appropriate modifications.
Child Support Considerations
In determining child support payments and duration, the New Jersey courts consider a number of factors. NJSA 2A:34-23 lists them as follows:
- Needs of the child;
- Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;
- All sources of income and assets of each parent;
- Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;
- Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;
- Age and health of the child and each parent;
- Income, assets and earning ability of the child;
- Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;
- Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and any other factors the court may deem relevant.
Parents who are in the process of seeking a divorce do not need to wait until the matter concludes. When necessary, Our Attorneys will submit a Pendente Lite Motion requesting child support payments during the pendency of the case. Other relief may be sought as part of the same motion.
Duration of Child Support
Under New Jersey law, unless otherwise specified, child support payments are due until the child has been emancipated. Previously, parents were required to return to court to prove emancipation before they could be relieved of continued support payments. Additionally, proof was necessary to show that the financial support was no longer necessary.
The age of emancipation was recently raised from eighteen to nineteen. There is no longer a prerequisite that parents go before a judge to request the termination of child support payments. However, child support payments cannot be arbitrarily ceased if any of these apply:
- Court order establishes a different age of emancipation
- Divorce decree explicitly details duration of child support obligations
- Child has special needs stemming from either physical or mental disabilities
- Court order ties continuing financial support to either secondary or college education
Modification of Child Support Orders
Certain changed circumstances may warrant a modification of a child support order. One of the parties may find that their income has changed drastically. A parent’s health may be an issue. There are a number of factors that might warrant either an increase or reduction in child support payments.
Our Attorneys have experience handling modifications of child support orders. This requires a motion in family court. The considerations used to determine the initial award will be revisited. Of course, the best interests of your child will continue to be primary.
Enforcement of Child Support Orders
Unfortunately, some choose to ignore child support orders. This leaves the burden on one parent and deprives children of the financial support due them. There are legal options available in these circumstances.
You may be expected to return to court regarding the enforcement of a child support order. For some, wage garnishments may be placed for current payments, as well as arrears. The latter could even mean an attachment to unemployment benefits, court awards and settlements, and license suspension. Those in substantial arrears may also be subject to incarceration.
Whether you are due outstanding child support or owe it, Our Attorneys can provide you with experienced legal advice. Child support is vital to ensure your children have financial means to thrive.
Are you concerned about child support? the Law Offices of DiFrancia & DeDona can assist you. Find out what you need to know by scheduling a complimentary consultation. We look forward to helping you!