Paying Child Support Directly to Children, Is It Possible in NJ?
Explore the Different Scenarios When Providing Child Support Directly to Children is Allowed in Clifton, Wayne, Totowa, and towns throughout Passaic County
The determination of child support is calculated very carefully through the child support guidelines as authorized by New Jersey Statutory Authority. The state of New Jersey takes into account many different aspects of the family’s life. The most important factor considered by the court, however, is what is in the “best interest of the child” (BIOC). Since the guidelines were created many years ago, until fairly recently, child support could only be paid to the custodial parent, usually through an automated system or portal. Like with any stroke of government “ingenuity,” as time went on, problems began to arise.
Besides the fact that child support was not always being paid at all, custodial parents would not always use the money they received to support the child. Non-custodial parents, unwittingly, were paying expenses that had no significant connection to their child. The Judiciary addressed this in Kayahan v. Kayahan, N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3040 (2015). The unpublished opinion by Judge Jones in Ocean County, set the precedent for custodial parents’ accountability when it comes to receiving child support payments.
From Kayahan vs. Kayahan to Jacoby vs. Jacoby
In Jacoby vs. Jacoby, the Court mentions in their opinion the option of paying child support directly to the child. Though they “open the door” to the question, the Kayahan Court is not aware of their final ruling. What Jacoby did was give Judges the notion that it is possible for a non-custodial parent to pay their child support directly to their child in rare instances under certain circumstances.
Paying “Children” Directly: Can You Get Credit For It?
To quickly summarize the opinion, Judge Jones stated that a threshold barrier to a child receiving monetary support from their non-custodial parent is whether or not the child is emancipated and over the age of 18. Only children over the age of 18 and Unemancipated are eligible to receive child support directly.
Once this element is satisfied, Kayahan allows for great discretion on the part of the Family Part Judge to determine whether or not the child can receive payments from their non-custodial parent. In order to decide this issue, the Judge must look to four important factors:
- Has the adult, unemancipated, child, shown a history of mature, responsible financial habits and decision-making?
- Any and all purposes for which the child is receiving money for shall be predetermined, specifically designated, and continually supported by evidence that said money is being utilized for said purpose. Evidence of this must be continually provided to both parents.
- Has the non-custodial, payor parent shown a history of consistent compliance with the child support order? Has the non-custodial parent paid on time and in the right amount? If so, for how long?
- If the child began to receive payments directly, how would the non-custodial parent’s ability to maintain the child’s home be affected? Will the custodial parents be able to sustain the current lifestyle of the child based on the remaining child support payments paid to the custodial parent?
In Kayahan, the court ultimately decided not to allow the non-custodial parent to pay their child support obligations directly to the child, but did acknowledge that it is legally permissible. The court would permit such an action as long as there were “counter-balancing provisions” to protect the money from wasteful spending habits of an immature child.
Advantages of Directly Paying Support to Child
Notably, the court states several advantages of allowing the child to be paid directly, such as the invaluable education in money-management and financial literacy. Also, dispensing a designated amount of money for a specific purpose while attaching certain strings of responsibility, the parent-child communication and relationship will strengthen naturally. In the end, as mentioned before, the court did not go forward with this payment arrangement because factor number 4 (above) weighed heavily in the disfavor of such an arrangement. The significant economic downturn of recent history caused the defendant to suffer a severe decrease in annual income. Therefore, his support obligation had been cut in half from the original amount of $242. Since the defendant was now only obligated to pay $125 per week in child support, if the court allowed the defendant to pay money directly to the child, the custodial parent would not be able to maintain the child’s lifestyle at home based on what was left in the fund.
You may be asking, why does this matter? When would this apply? Well, if you’re paying child support this is invaluable knowledge to have, as long as you have an experienced attorney to help you use it to your advantage. Situations arise in which Kayahan is perfectly implicated. The most common reasons to cite Kayahan include the dissipating communication and miserable relationship between the parents of the child. If you are paying someone you hate and relying on them to use that money for your child, how can you trust it’s actually happening?
I Can Go To Court By Myself, Right?
Absolutely not. As you can see, cases may seem like they are open and shut, but they never are. Experienced attorneys that are at the forefront of this very type of judicial activity know how to present your case in accordance with exactly what the Court is assessing. By not going into court with legal representation for a matter like Kayahan, you are at extreme risk of being obligated into something disadvantageous to both you and your relationship with your child.
Contact a Well Versed Family Lawyer to Discuss How to Protect Your Rights Seeking The Child’s Best Interest in NJ
To ensure your protection and the security of your relationship with your child, there is plainly no better way but to hire an experienced family law attorney to advocate for you. Handling hundreds of child support cases, our lawyers at The Montanari Law Group know the factors, but more importantly, we know how the Court will apply them to your case. In family law, Judges have a notorious amount of discretion in deciding matters such as this. They wield significant power over the lives of the parties before them. Without the right attorney advocating on your behalf, you risk the Judge being persuaded, by opposing counsel, to Order the impossible. Don’t risk your financial protection or your child’s future by entrusting your case to just any old lawyer.
Call The Montanari Law Group in Little Falls if you need help pursuing a child support case involving direct payments to your child. We are prepared and dedicated to assisting you in proving your case and applying what is in your child’s best interests in Ridgewood, Haledon, Ringwood, Wayne, Clifton, Kearny, Hawthorne, Woodland Park, and towns in Passaic County and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at (973) 233-4396, toll-free at (888) 877-7985 for a free consultation today.