Parents have a duty and an obligation to provide for their children, even if they are not living with them in the same home. For couples who are going through a divorce or in cases in which the parents were never married, child support helps to ensure the child is provided for and that they have the material things they need to thrive. In child custody proceedings, support is often a major issue to be decided. Once a formal child support order is in place, there are legal options in terms of making sure it is enforced.
Obtaining an Order for Child Support
Child support should not be an option for either parent. Even in cases where the other person willingly pays a certain amount each week or on a monthly basis, there are definite advantages to obtaining a child support order. Under the New Jersey Statutes, the court considers numerous factors in determining the amount of child support which is fair. These include:
- The income, assets, and earning potential of each parent;
- The amount of time the child spends in each parent’s home;
- The basic material needs involved in raising the child, such as food, clothing, and shelter;
- Any special needs the child has, such as academic expenses or health related care;
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents remained together;
- The debts of each parent and the responsibility they have in supporting themselves and others, such as children from prior relationships.
A child support order may be issued as part of divorce and child custody proceedings or it may be initiated as a separate legal action. If the parents are unmarried and paternity is in question, testing will need to be conducted first. Once paternity is established, the court will consider all the factors involved before issuing an order in the case. Once the order is in place, payment can then be enforced through the court.
Child Support Enforcement Efforts
Parents are required to pay child support, regardless of whether or not they are currently employed. If they are not working, an amount may be imputed based on their education and prior work experience. If a parent refuses to pay, their wages may be garnished. If they still fail to pay, there are additional actions which may be taken through the New Jersey Department of Human Services. These include:
- Seizure of assets, such as funds in bank accounts;
- Liens placed on property, such as homes or cars;
- Seizure of any lottery winnings or tax refunds they may be entitled to;
- Suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration until the debt is paid;
- Refusal to issue a business license or passport;
- Civil judgments and court proceedings, including contempt of court.
When a non-paying parent is found guilty of contempt for failing to pay child support, they can be incarcerated until payment arrangements are made. They will be required to pay the current amount owed, as well as any arrears owed on the debt. Once you have a court order for child support, this amount will continue to accrue over the years. Eventually, your child will get the money he or she is entitled to, even if the other parent attempts to evade responsibility by moving out of state.
Get Our New Jersey Child Support Attorney on Your Side
At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we pursue non-paying parents until child support debts are paid. If you need to get an order for child support or assistance in enforcing an existing order, call or contact our Milltown family law attorney online and request a consultation today.