What are the Child Support Laws in New Jersey?
Child support is necessary in all divorce cases involving children. How much child support a person has to pay depends on a number of factors. In most cases, child support is only necessary until a child turns 18. The child support agreement may include stipulations that indicate otherwise, though.
Because child support is necessary, you may want to know what to expect post-divorce. The New Jersey family law attorneys at The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards do our best to prepare clients for the future. We provide answers to our client’s most pressing questions. We can explain how to calculate child support and help you understand what payments will entail.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In most cases, a New Jersey family court judge will use the state’s child support guidelines to calculate the support amount. The guidelines, or formula, takes into consideration various factors.
Factors for Child Support Calcuation:
- Total Family Income
- Parent’s Respective Incomes
- Each Parent’s Expenses
- Amount of Time Each Parent Has the Child
- Other Relevant Factors
The formula ensures uniformity and fairness in all child support cases throughout the state. A judge may deter from the guidelines, however, in extreme income situations. In most cases, the custodial parent receives support from the parent of alternate residence.
What Expenses Does Child Support Cover?
It is hard for the state to control what is and is not covered by support. The custodial parent uses his or her discretion when allocating support money. That said, child support should cover fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, child care, clothing, food, and other recurring expenses. The goal of child support is to provide the child with a comfortable upbringing.
The topic of what support should cover is of large debate in most states, not just New Jersey. For instance, some parents believe that child support should not cover the cost of private tuition. Others may argue that a private education is necessary to ensure a promising future. Parents should avoid using the money for personal expenses or unnecessary. However, it is difficult to control the way in which a parent spends child support. Unless there is evidence that the recipient parent is using it for his or her own means on a regular basis, there is not much the courts can do about it.
Can You Modify Child Support?
Absolutely. New Jersey law allows for modification in instances where one or both parents have experienced a “change in circumstances.” The changed circumstances must be major,
permanent, and unanticipated. For instance, a job loss would be a major, permanent (at least for the foreseeable future), and unanticipated event. Quitting a job, however, is generally planned, and the courts do not recognize it as a change in circumstance. If you want to modify your child support, talk to an experienced family law attorney in New Jersey. They will explain the plausibility of that happening and what you need to do to set the modification process in motion.
What Happens When the Obligor Refuses to Pay?
It is not uncommon for an obligor to miss a payment here or there, and one or two missed payments is not something a payee should file a complaint about. However, when an obligor regularly misses payments, the payee could file an enforcement application with the court. If granted, payments process through the court, and they will note missed payments. If missed payments continue, the court may pursue additional enforcement measures. This includes suspension of professional and drivers’ licenses, wage garnishment, or even incarceration.
If an obligor is having trouble making regular payments, it would be in his or her best interest to file a motion for modification. That way, he or she can prove a change in circumstances and get the support amount lowered.
Work With a Knowledgeable Child Support Lawyer
If you want to plan for your finances post-divorce, reach out to an informed New Jersey child support attorney. Contact Jordan B. Rickards today to schedule a private and personal consultation.