New Jersey Child Support Lawyer Will Ensure Accurate Calculations and Enforce Divorced and Separated Parents’ Right to Payment
If you have minor children and are preparing to go through a divorce or separation, establishing child support is a necessary part of the process. New Jersey law requires parents to support their children financially, and the obligation to provide support does not terminate with the end of the parents’ relationship.
While establishing child support can be a straightforward process in some cases, several factors can lead to complications. From addressing high-net-worth scenarios to dealing with parents who attempt to conceal income, you need to ensure that all relevant information is on the table when it comes to establishing child support. A New Jersey child support lawyer can help you through the process.
Establishing Child Support During a Divorce or Separation in New Jersey
We help parents establish child support during divorces and separations. With almost 40 years of combined experience, our attorneys are aware of the issues that can come up during the process. We are also skilled in using legal and forensic means to collect spouses’ and partners’ financial information when it is necessary to do so.
Calculating Child Support in New Jersey
In New Jersey, child support is the right of the child and cannot be waived by the parents on behalf of the child. Child support is governed by The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and is intended to cover the child’s portion of certain basic costs associated with supporting a child as discussed below.
The State created a formula to determine basic costs which consider several factors:
- Income (or earning potential) of each parent
- Amount of overnights each parent has with the child
- The age of the children
- The number of children
- Childcare costs
- And anything else as applicable
Once these factors are entered into the formula, a weekly child support number is generated, which serves as the starting point for determining the correct amount of child support for any given case.
Child support is not intended to cover the entire cost of raising a child; rather, it aims to cover the child’s share of expenses for such basic costs like housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, unreimbursed health care costs up to and including $250 per child per year, and other miscellaneous items.
The Guidelines carve out certain expenses that child support is not intended to cover such as the net purchase price of a home or vehicle, a vehicle driven primarily by a child, special clothing for extracurricular activities, private school tuition and unreimbursed health care costs over $250 per year per child. These “extra” expenses are often shared by the parents in proportion to their income/earning potential. Our attorneys can ensure that you and your spouse or partner use the Guidelines appropriately, and we can give you confidence that you are moving forward with an appropriate child support calculation.
When Does Child Support End in New Jersey?
As of February 2017, child support automatically terminates at age 19 unless an application is made to continue the award. The Child Support Guidelines are only intended to apply to children until they graduate high school. Guideline calculated child support can continue under certain circumstances, such as if the child attends a college or other type of post-secondary institution on a full-time basis, and lives at home with a parent. Generally, if a child does not attend college or secondary education, they are considered to be “emancipated” in the eyes of the law and parents no longer have an obligation to financially support them.
Courts look to see if the child has moved beyond the “sphere of influence” of their parents when determining if child support is no longer required.
While each case is fact-specific, there are certain events that automatically deem the child outside the sphere of influence, including:
- Enlisting in the armed forces
Child Support and Paying for College
Children who attend secondary education after high school are generally not considered emancipated and thus are still entitled to financial support from their parents. However, child support is often adjusted to consider other college-related expenses, especially if the child lives most of the year at school.
Courts determine the child support amounts based on the circumstances of each case by weighing the following factors:
- 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
- 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
- Any other factors the court may deem relevant
Modifying and Enforcing Child Support Under New Jersey Law
In an ideal world, once you get divorced or separated, your former spouse or partner will consistently make his or her child support payments on time. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If your former spouse or partner has stopped paying, we can pursue wage garnishment and other appropriate legal remedies in the New Jersey courts.
What if you can no longer afford to pay? New Jersey law allows for the modification of child support awards in appropriate circumstances as well. However, it is extremely important that you not stop paying what you owe unless and until a judge says that it is okay to do so.
Speak with a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer at Zemsky Family Law
If you would like more information about establishing, enforcing, or modifying child support, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with one of our New Jersey child support lawyers in confidence, please request an appointment online today.