All parents, married or unmarried, whether they live together or separately, have an obligation to support their child financially. In New Jersey, as throughout the United States, child support is a vital aspect of family law. If you live in New Jersey and are having difficulty with the process of child support, whether you are the paying or receiving parent, Bozanian McGregor LLC in Paramus can help. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and highly skilled, and have a track record of successfully assisting our diverse client base.
How Child Support Is Calculated in New Jersey
Child support is designed to cover housing, food, clothing, and costs for recreational, social, and sports activities. New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines are formulated to calculate the approximate amount of money that would be available for the child if the family were intact and base the child support amount on that. To figure out how much child support must be paid by the parent with greater resources, the financial circumstances of each parent must be carefully considered, including:
- Parental income (e.g. salary, wages, bonuses, overtime, tips, freelance work)
- Business income (from self-owned, partnership or corporate enterprises)
- The number of children each parent has
- Custody arrangements (the parent spending more time with the child is expected to have higher childcare costs)
- Additional expenses ranging from medical costs to extracurricular activities
- Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements
- Government benefits (Social Security, disability, or veteran benefits)
- Unemployment compensation
- Dividends and interest on savings and investments
- Pension, retirement, and annuity payments
- Rental Income from owned properties
- Royalties and trusts
- Spousal support from a previous marriage
As you can see, support calculations can be more complicated than anticipated which is why having a reliable lawyer is invaluable.
Enforcing Child Support in New Jersey
In many cases, acrimony and/or economic hardship prevents child support payments from being made in a timely fashion or at all. Once a child support order is in place, however, the paying parent is legally obligated to fulfill their parental duty. Enforcement mechanisms are in place to see that this happens. These include:
- Withholding income, the most common method of ensuring child support involves court intervention. The paying parent’s paycheck will be automatically sent to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center and the amount owed in child support will be withheld and forwarded to the receiving parent.
- Tax refund interception involves the state intercepting federal or state tax refunds which are then used to pay the receiving parent the amount of child support owed.
- License suspensions respond to violations of child support requirements by suspending driving, professional, or recreational licenses of parents who fail to meet their child support obligations.
- Passport denial refuses to issue a passport to a parent who owes a substantial amount of child support until the debt is settled.
- Negative reports to credit bureaus are also a way in which the delinquent parent is punished. In this case, the unpaid child support is officially reported to credit bureaus, negatively impacting the delinquent parent’s credit score, buying and borrowing power.
Although New Jersey also has criminal statutes that can be invoked to punish parents who refuse to pay child support by imposing a jail sentence of up to 3 years, in reality such laws are rarely enforced since an incarcerated parent becomes even less likely to pay child support.
If you are suffering the financial blow of not receiving child support or if you are burdened by a child support obligation you are unable to pay, now is the time to contact Bozanian McGregor for the strong legal advocacy we will provide.
Modifying Child Support in New Jersey
Change of circumstances, such as one parent’s job loss or the increased needs of a child, may reasonably warrant a modification in child support. Our child support attorneys can assist you in making such necessary changes.
Reasons New Jersey courts will consider child support modifications include:
- Substantial increase or decrease in either parent’s income
- Changes in child custody arrangements
- Involuntary unemployment of one parent
- Increased medical or educational costs necessary for the child’s well-being
- Serious incapacity of one parent that interferes with their ability to earn a living
- One parent’s substantial inheritance or other windfall
How Long Do Parents Have To Provide Child Support in New Jersey?
In general, New Jersey parents have an obligation to support their child until the age of maturity which has traditionally been 19. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. If the child marries, joins the military, or becomes legally emancipated before the age of 19, their parents no longer have to support them.
On the other hand, child support can be extended to the age of 23 if the child is still in high school, is enrolled in a post-secondary school educational program (like college), or has a physical or mental disability before reaching the age of 19.
Talk to An Accomplished Child Support Attorney at Boznian McGregor Today
Child support can be complex and variable. Because of its significant impact on your child’s health and happiness (and your financial stability), it is wise to discuss this matter with an experienced child support lawyer. Contact us now to weigh your best options.