Passaic County NJ Child Support Lawyers
Family Law Attorneys in Wayne, New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, both parents are required to share in the financial responsibilities associated with raising their child. Regardless of the parents’ relationship status, they are both responsible for the expenses necessary to feed, house, and provide for the other needs of the child that they share. In order to ensure that every child receives the financial support they deserve from both parents, New Jersey provides Child Support Guidelines, a set of complex formulas used to determine the appropriate amount of child support in each case. Although the Child Support Guidelines are relatively concrete, parents often disagree significantly about how much they should pay or receive every month. Additionally, these guidelines must be applied appropriately, with consideration given to all relevant factors, in order to arrive at an accurate child support determination. Due to the intricacies of child support calculations and the life-altering implications that result from these determinations, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can ensure that you are not paying too much or receiving too little child support.
At The Montanari Law Group, our highly experienced family law attorneys are well-versed in the many facets of New Jersey law regarding child support. With extensive knowledge of New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines, we investigate your case to identify potential issues and suggest innovative solutions that are tailored to best suit your unique situation. Every day the members of our family law team put their knowledge and experience to work for families in Wayne, Clifton, Totowa, and throughout Passaic and Essex counties. To discuss your case with one of our skilled New Jersey child support attorneys, contact us today at 973-233-4396 or toll-free at 888-877-7985 for a free consultation.
Child Support Law and Income Shares Model in New Jersey
New Jersey child support determinations are reached using the Income Shares Model, which incorporates the combined income of both parents. The Income Shares model is based on the premise that a child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the family unit remained intact. New Jersey Court Rule 5:6A and Appendix IX explains the following:
The premise of these guidelines is that (1) child support is a continuous duty of both parents, (2) children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents, and (3) children should not be the economic victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth. The economic data and procedures of these guidelines attempt to simulate the percentage of parental net income that is spent on children in intact families.
The Child Support Guidelines includes a formula that is used to calculate child support payments, which is based on the combined net weekly income of the parents and the number of children in the family. Other factors that are considered in child support determinations include childcare expenses, health insurance costs, other child support obligations, the child custody and parenting time arrangement, and any special needs of the child. The State will also evaluate whether or not either parent is underemployed or working to his or her earning capacity.
How Child Support Works
New Jersey child support law states that both parents are responsible for meeting the financial needs of their child and that a child has a right to a share of each parent’s income. As part of a child custody arrangement, the non-custodial Parent of Alternative Residence regularly provides a predetermined amount to the custodial Parent of Primary Residence. With certain exceptions, the amount is determined based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. While these child support funds are paid to the parent, they are not entitled to the funds. The money belongs to the child and is allocated for their nutritional, medical, and educational needs. Traditionally, child support is meant to cover primary and basic needs of a child. These include food, clothing, and housing. In New Jersey, child support can also be used for such expenses for the child as medical bills, educational tuition and fees, extracurricular activities, transportation, child care, and even college tuition.
Child Support Modifications
A child support order is modifiable. That said, unlike other arrangements in which parents can agree to a change without involving the court, such as in a parenting time agreement, a Family Part judge must approve of the modification and officially amend the child support order.
Factors that May Influence Child Support Calculations
Being supported by both parents is a child’s constitutional right in New Jersey. The Superior Court: Family Part is committed to protecting the best interests of a child; as such, when considering child support paid by one parent to the other for the child’s welfare, the Court considers a number of factors. The law also acknowledges a number of circumstances that may provide grounds for an adjustment of the child support award derived through the Child Support Guidelines. In other words, if any of the following apply to your case, the State may consider a modification of the child support amount initially determined through the standard child support formula:
- Equitable distribution of property
- Income taxes
- Fixed direct payments (i.e. mortgage payments)
- Unreimbursed medical and/or dental expenses for either parent
- Educational expenses for children (i.e. tuition for private, parochial, or trade schools, or other secondary schools, or post-secondary education)
- Educational expenses for either parent to improve earning capacity
- Single-family units having more than six children
- Cases involving the voluntary placement of children in foster care
- Special needs of gifted or disabled children
- Ages of the children
- Hidden costs of caring for children such as reduced income, decreased career opportunities, loss of time to shop economically, or loss of savings
- Extraordinarily high income of a child (i.e. actors, trust recipients)
- Substantiated financial obligations for elder care that existed before the filing of the support action
- The tax advantages of paying for a child’s health insurance
- One payer owing support to more than one family (i.e. multiple prior support orders)
- A motor vehicle purchased or leased for the intended primary use of a child subject to the support order
- Parties sharing equal parenting time; and
- Overnight adjustment for multiple children with varying parenting time schedules
If you need help modifying child support for your children in New Jersey, contact our child support lawyers for immediate assistance. We are here to address your unique needs and discuss how we can help ensure that any modifications that need to be made to your child support order are appropriately handled.
When is Child Support Terminated?
According to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, the Parent of Alternate Residence is required to pay child support until the child is emancipated, which in New Jersey is usually when they turn 18 years old. Child support will also end if the child marries, dies, enters military service, or comes into the custody of the State of New Jersey. The custodial parent may in some cases request an extension of child support, which the judge must approve. An extension of child support payment can be requested if the child is still in an educational program such as high school or college when they turn 19 years old; in this case, child support will continue until the child’s 23rd birthday. An extension can also be requested if the child has a severe mental or physical disability.
What Happens if Child Support is not being Paid?
If your ex will not pay court-mandated child support, there are means of seeking support in enforcement of child support payment. Some steps the court may take at your request is to file a wage assignment, by which the person’s employer is given a court order to directly channel their wages to the custodial parent. The court can also order a writ of execution that seizes the non-paying parent’s assets such as properties and bank accounts. And a parent can be put in jail for being in contempt of court by not following a court-mandated child support order.
It is your child’s constitutional right to have the financial support from both parents that they need to be healthy and well. When you have issues with getting regular child support payments that have been ordered by the court, it is important to seek the support of a child support attorney. At The Montanari Law Group, our child support lawyers are experienced in efficiently working with the court to swiftly address lapses in child support payments.
Contact our Totowa NJ Child Support Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you are experiencing difficulties with child support payments or overwhelmed by the process of determining, changing, ending, or enforcing your child support arrangement, trust the background and commitment to excellence at The Montanari Law Group. For additional information and the answers to your questions, speak with one of our knowledgeable Passaic County child support attorneys today. We successfully represent parents in Nutley, Haledon, West Milford, Pompton Lakes, and towns across Northern New Jersey to ensure that their child support orders are properly addressed and given the attention they deserve. Our attorneys understand how essential financial support is for the wellbeing and nourishment of your growing child. Contact us at 973-233-4396 or toll-free at 888-877-7985 for a free initial consultation or schedule an appointment at our centrally-located Little Falls office.
New Jersey Child Support Resources
For additional information related to child support in New Jersey, visit the Child Support Website provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
You can also view the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines in their entirety by clicking here.