New Jersey Child Custody and Child Support Attorney for Unmarried Couples
MR. MEN’S RIGHTS DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW OF NEW JERSEY BY SCHULTZ & ASSOCIATES, LLC IS A FAMILY LAW FIRM REPRESENTING NON-MARRIED PARENTS IN CHILD CUSTODY AND CHILD SUPPORT MATTERS THROUGHOUT NEW JERSEY. WHETHER YOU NEED TO ESTABLISH YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS, ENFORCE THE OTHER PARENT’S OBLIGATIONS, OR MODIFY A CUSTODY OR SUPPORT AWARD, OUR ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP. OUR OFFICES ARE LOCATED IN BERGEN COUNTY, NJ.
For unmarried parents, child support and child custody matters present many important and unique challenges. Whether you need to establish your parental rights with respect to a newborn child, or you are leaving a long-term nonmarital relationship and have minor children, ensuring that you can stay involved in your children’s lives is understandably high on your list of priorities.
Located in southern Bergen County, we have particular experience working with high-net-worth clients who commute across the river into New York City. With decades of family law experience, our legal team attuned to the often-complex issues facing unmarried parents, and we are committed to providing the caring, compassionate, and personalized representation our clients expect and deserve.
Establishing Parentage in New Jersey
As an unmarried father, before you can obtain custody or parenting time with your child, you should establish you are the biological father of the child. There are several ways to do this in New Jersey. You and the unmarried mother of the child can fill out a Certificate of Parentage at the time of the child’s birth. Then, your name will be placed on the birth certificate.
If you and your child’s other parent did not complete a Certificate of Parentage, there are other ways to establish paternity. As co-parents, you can agree you are the father, or you can agree to take a genetic test. If there is a disagreement, either parent can take the other to court and ask the judge to require you or the other party to submit to genetic testing.
Child Custody Arrangements for Unmarried Parents
In custody matters, the New Jersey courts assess numerous factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Both parents have equal rights to legal custody and physical custody of their child. A judge will not assume a child’s mother is more equipped to parent full time than a father.
While the parents’ wishes and those of the child (once they reach “sufficient age and capacity to reason”) are relevant to custody decisions, neither is determinative in reaching a child custody award. New Jersey custody laws require the family court to determine what is in the best interests of the child first, then order an arrangement that supports the child’s welfare. This often leads to a joint custody arrangement but can lead to sole custody, as well.
Calculating Child Support in New Jersey
Child support matters, on the other hand, usually are determined by calculating and applying the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, although there are exceptions where the Guidelines may be inapplicable. What is critical in any matter, is ensuring that any child support calculation is done correctly, using the appropriate incomes (or imputed incomes) and financial circumstances of the parties. If you are concerned the other parent is not being honest about their income, which would impact child support calculations, talk with your attorney right away. Usually, the attorneys can and will calculate child support for you and attempt to have the other side agree. If an agreement cannot be reached, then, of course, either party may seek the assistance of a Judge.
Reaching an Amicable Decision Between Unmarried Parents
While litigation is always a possibility, it might be wise to first try to resolve differences without the Court’s involvement. There are a number of strategies for negotiating parenting arrangements and financial support obligations. Parents who commit themselves to the process can often save significant time and money while limiting the stress placed on themselves and their children. At MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC, we emphasize pursuing amicable, yet cost-effective solutions. We work closely with our clients to secure their desired rights as quickly as possible.
Enforcing Child Custody or Child Support Awards
If you have existing child custody or child support order, and your co-parent is failing to meet his or her obligations, our family lawyers can assist you in enforcing the terms of the court order. Parents have several remedies available when their co-parents violate custody and support orders, and our attorneys can take swift and aggressive action to protect your legal rights. We may be able to seek garnishment of the other parent’s salary or wages, enjoin the parent from relocating your child out of state, or take other legal action to enforce the terms of your parenting plan or child support payment schedule, just as some examples.
Modifying a Child Custody or Child Support Court Order
If you are unable to make your child support payments, or your current custody arrangement no longer works for you or the child, for whatever reason, our attorneys can assist you in seeking an order for modification. The New Jersey family law courts will only grant modifications if you have a significant change in circumstances. Our attorneys are experienced in demonstrating that events in our clients’ personal and professional lives may warrant revisiting their original custody and support orders. If your former partner has filed a request for modification, we can represent you in seeking to preserve your existing rights, or modify it to something else you may want, as well.
Talk to an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Bergen County, NJ
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your situation, contact MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC. Our law offices offer an initial consultation, during which we will help you understand your situation and options for securing the support, custody, or visitation rights you desire. To schedule an appointment at our offices in Bergen County, New Jersey, please call 201-552-3394 or submit our online contact form today.