New Jersey Child Support Lawyers
Experienced Child Support Counsel and Representation in Bergen County, Central New Jersey, and New York
As a parent, you want your children to be minimally impacted by divorce, allowing them to grow and follow their dreams. Child support is a major factor in ensuring your child’s well-being, primarily because of the obvious need for significant financial support to provide for a child’s cost of living.
At MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our New Jersey child support attorneys advocate for the needs of the child while also taking fairness into account pertaining to child support amounts and the income of both parents.
Our New Jersey child support lawyers have represented parents who need to obtain child support or have to pay child support. Our New Jersey child support lawyers also give legal advice regarding enforcement of child support orders and past-due child support payments, in addition to helping clients whose financial circumstances may require a modification in child support.
Our New Jersey child support lawyers have more than 20 years of combined experience in helping families find equitable solutions that ensure their children’s financial security. So if you are experiencing issues organizing a child support order and are interested in speaking to a family law attorney to assist with your child support issues, call us at 201-880-9770 or contact us online for a consultation so we can review the general information of your child support agreement and help you devise the very best legal strategy available to you.
Understanding New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines
In New Jersey, there are child support guidelines based on a formula that takes into account:
- The number of children;
- The number of overnights or 12 hour blocks exercised by the parents;
- The net incomes of both the non-custodial parent and the custodial parent;
- Alimony being paid and/or received;
- If applicable, alimony or child support paid by a former spouse, or for children from a previous marriage;
- The daycare cost paid by the custodial parent; and
- The cost of health insurance paid by the custodial parent.
These are presumptive child support guidelines, but your specific situation may have special circumstances that will require us to assist you in determining an additional amount of child support to be paid and/or received. Private schools, combined income wage earners, special needs children, and special education, among other family law matters and circumstances, may enter into the equation.
As advocates for your child, our New Jersey child support lawyers will work to demonstrate to the court that those expenses are necessary and reasonable to help contribute towards the costs associated with your children visa vi child support payments.
New Jersey Child Support Laws: Enforcement and Modification
When a parent is overdue or has stopped making court-ordered child support payments, enforcement becomes necessary. In New Jersey, penalties for failing to pay child support are severe, and may include the following:
- incarceration for up to six months;
- driver’s license suspension or revocation;
- seizure of assets;
- and/or negative reports on credit ratings.
If you are owed child support payments, our New Jersey child support attorneys can represent you and help you obtain all past-due payments by attaching wages, seizing property or intercepting tax refunds.
If you are behind in child support payments, otherwise known as “arrears”, you may need immediate representation in negotiating a payment plan or modification to your court order. If you are experiencing a significant change in circumstances that affects your ability to meet your child support obligations, you may be eligible for a post-judgment modification.
It’s important that you contact an experienced divorce and family law attorney to assist you in evaluating your specific situation and help you achieve a reasonable adjustment given the totality of the circumstances.
New JerseyChild Support FAQs
How is child support calculated in New Jersey?
New Jersey’s child support guidelines are set out in Court Rule 5:6A and Appendix IX. New Jersey provides different worksheets: Appendix IX-C is for a parent with sole custody, and Appendix IX-D is for parents with shared custody (shared custody being defined as 104 or more ‘overnights’ with the non-custodial parent). In a shared custody situation, the calculation determines which parent is obligated to pay the other—it depends on various factors such as each parent’s income and the amount of time they have with the children.
The child support guideline worksheet accounts for: each parent’s gross table income minus several deductions, such as union dues, health insurance premiums, daycare, and child support for other dependents.
However, there are exceptions to using the worksheet if your income exceeds the minimum threshold. Then, the child support analysis is considered “above the guidelines” and that is a much more complicated legal analysis to which you definitely need to speak to an attorney about.
What is the basis for a New Jersey’s child support amount?
New Jersey’s Schedule of Child Support Awards (Appendix IX-F) is based on the average amount parents spend on their children. To generalize a complicated topic: The amounts in the schedule represent how much the State of New Jersey believes it costs to raise children. Of course, the State’s opinion may be very different from reality, but this is the framework that we have.
The amounts are based on economist’s calculations through a marginal-cost estimation, which compares the spending of families who are similarly well-off but have different numbers of children. You can learn more about the economic basis for the child support guidelines in Appendix IX-A, Considerations in the Use of Child Support Guidelines, most recently amended in September 2019.
Do Men & Fathers always pay child support?
No, fathers are not always the parent responsible for paying child support. Typically, the parent who has less time with the children (the non-custodial parent) pays support to the custodial parent. Either parent can be the custodial parent depending on what’s in the children’s best interest—New Jersey doesn’t presume mothers are better custodial parents. If the parties have a shared custodial arrangement, that will severely lower the amount of child support one parent owes the other– and of course, if the parents are almost equally splitting the time with the children (a true 50/50 arrangement), the child support amount may be negligible, depending on circumstances.
Can I get more (or pay less) child support?
It depends on your situation. New Jersey’s child support schedule is a minimum amount, but when the facts of your matter warrant, you could request that the child support amount be deviated –either up or down– from what the New Jersey Child Support Guideline Worksheet calculated. But, you have to be prepared to prove it. This is where talking to an attorney is critical to see if you would qualify to make this request.
You can also ask for a recalculation of child support (up or down) based upon if you or the other parent have a significant change in circumstances– either in income (financial circumstances) or the custodial arrangement. Also, the person receiving the child support may be entitled to a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) every three years from the date of the initial establishment of the child support. With the help of a New Jersey child custody attorney, you also can motion the court to recalculate child support if there’s been a significant change in circumstances.
Do I have to document how I spend child support?
Child support is meant to cover the child’s % share of housing, food, clothing, school, medical care, entertainment, and some recreational activities. There is a list of what child support covers in Appendix IX-A, and any attorney you contact can also give you a copy. The parent who receives child support isn’t required to show how they spend the money, unfortunately. We know this causes a lot of conflict when one parent believes the other is spending the money on other things other than the children. However, as of right now, courts give the parent receiving the child support the benefit of the doubt that they are using the money to provide for their children. Parents who are worried that the custodial parent is neglecting their children should talk with an attorney right away because that concern can be addressed and possibly resolved by a different legal avenue instead of the argument of controlling how one spends the child support received.
Learn More About Your Child Support Rights
Contact our experienced New Jersey child support lawyers for an initial consultation at 201-880-9770 to find out how our law firm can help you.
Our law offices represent clients in both New Jersey and New York, and you can rest assured that the New Jersey family law specialists at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law by Schultz & Associates, LLC will be on your side to get you through the tricky and complicated rough waters in the area of child support.