New Jersey Child Support Attorneys
It is the responsibility of each parent – both mother and father – to make sure their child has enough food to eat, clothes to wear, and a safe place to live. It is important to know your legal rights when it comes to New Jersey child support and what financial support your child or children are eligible for.
Within the legal framework for a divorce, parents fall into one of two legal categories the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent (or the payee) is the one who primarily lives with the child and has the primary day-to-day responsibilities. The non-custodial parent (or the payor) is responsible for providing financial and medical support to their child or children.
The parent who is not living with the child is still responsible to help support the needs of the child financially. The Child Support Guidelines provides a formula to determine the amount of basic child support that needs to be paid, but often we deviate from this formula because it makes more financial sense. All expenses associated with the child including medical, educational, extracurricular, etc. are divided based on each parent’s income. Each family is different, and the child support amount will change accordingly.
How Is New Jersey Child Support Determined?
Unlike alimony, New Jersey child support is calculated using New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines which is a specific formula requiring the disclosure of certain financial information from both of the New Jersey parents. This financial information includes income, work related childcare costs, health insurance costs, and any other financial details of other support obligations a parent may be required to pay or is receiving.
Your child’s best interests are New Jersey courts’ primary concern, which is why your New Jersey child support agreement will revolve around the needs of your child. One important factor in determining child support is the number of overnight stays that each spouse is exercising with their child or children. The number of weekly stays will affect not only the amount of child support awarded but also the manner in which child support is calculated. Though, New Jersey courts will also consider various other aspects of you, your spouse, and your children’s lives when deciding on your child support terms. Some of these factors are as follows:
- Whether your child is currently employed and has a steady income
- The needs of your child
- The age and health of both you and your spouse
- Your family’s standard of living before the divorce
- You and your spouse’s economic circumstances
- The number of children currently living in your household
- You and your spouse’s earning capacity, as well as your education
- Any additional factors that New Jersey courts deem relevant to your specific case
When Can You Stop Paying New Jersey Child Support?
New Jersey child support is an extremely complex issue and there is no definite answer to this question, as many variables affect when support ends. Basically, support is required as long as the child is dependent, which has its limitations. That being said, while children can be formally emancipated from child support payments in New Jersey upon their 19th birthday, typically, the law provides for parents to continue to support them while they are dependent. Even after their child reaches the age of nineteen. If your child wishes to attend college or pursue higher education, child support will typically extend his/her support payments until he/she turns 22 years old. Additionally, if your child has a medical condition or disability that requires additional and ongoing financial assistance, you may also request an extension on your New Jersey child support payments as needed.
With that said, your child may be emancipated from the New Jersey child support order before he or she turns 19 years of age. Though this is uncommon, it can happen. Your child may be emancipated from support payments for any of the following reasons, as long as the court agrees:
- Your child is no longer living with the parents
- Your child has enlisted in the military
- Your child is now married
- Your child is pregnant or has children of their own
- Your child is now financially independent and has a full-time job
Having An Experience New Jersey Child Support Mediator or Lawyer Can Make A Difference
It is important to understand why mediation is generally a better way to determine New Jersey Child Support for most couples:
Only you and your co-parent know your financial situation and the needs of your children. Every couple and every child is different. Mediation is able to take all your factors into consideration and not just the statutory factors outlined by the law. The child support agreement you work out in mediation can be fluid and take more personal factors into consideration than a family law judge. The agreement you and your partner work out together in mediation will be best suited to your family, your finances, and your children. If you can avoid the courtroom and work out your agreement with a mediator, it will tailored for your family.
Having experienced and effective legal representation in the determination of New Jersey child support is essential to making sure the spouses’ incomes are properly reported and that the factors used to determine the costs of raising the children are fairly and accurately arrived at. It is also important to know that the family law judge does have the authority to deviate from the statutory guidelines and set a different amount of support if they believe deviating from the formula is in the child’s best interest.
Call Berner Law & Mediation Group Today To Learn More About New Jersey Child Support
At Berner Law & Mediation Group, we know that every case is unique and will work with you to develop an approach that is appropriate to your situation. We will take the time to fully understand and analyze all the issues in the case in order to best represent you.
Call our office today to schedule a consultation with a skilled and experienced New Jersey child support attorney.