New Jersey Child Support Lawyers
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Our New Jersey Child Support Lawyers Provide Experienced Representation in Complex Matters
In New Jersey, children are entitled to financial support from both parents following divorce. The law ensures that children do not become economic victims of their parents’ break-up. Of course, if you’re like most parents, you want to ensure your children’s well-being, financially and otherwise. You want them to continue having a quality of life similar to what they enjoyed when you were an intact family. But at the same time, there are a lot of new financial strains when a relationship and marriage ends, and you may be feeling that the other parent is attempting to take advantage of you with child support requests or demands.
When you’re faced with child support issues, a skilled child support lawyer can protect your rights. Our New Jersey child support lawyers represent parents ordered to pay child support, as well as those who need to obtain or establish it to help care for their children. We also advise parents regarding enforcement of child support orders and past-due child support payments and help clients with modification requests when their financial or other situations relating to the children significantly change. We assist parents who are divorcing as well as parents who were never married. The bottom line is that child support is a right that belongs to the children. Parents are not entitled to just simply decide not to pay it.
Reach Out for Skilled Legal Guidance from a Knowledgeable Child Support Lawyer
Child support laws may appear straightforward, but, in fact, they can be very complex. One of the complexities involves ensuring that the parents’ income figures utilized in calculating child support are accurate. If one parent is not working, there should be a discussion about why that is and whether income should be imputed to that parent for child support calculations. Also, there could be a situation with daycare or before/after school costs that requires consideration of who should pay for what, in what percentage, and the methodology of the payment itself.
If you are divorcing, any alimony obligations should also be included in the child support analysis. Additionally, one of the major issues when considering child support is the custody or visitation schedule. You cannot even begin to discuss child support until that issue is resolved.
You can see how complex child support determinations can be and why it’s to your great benefit to have skilled legal guidance. Our Bergen County child support lawyers have decades of combined experience helping families find equitable solutions that ensure their children’s financial security.
Contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC today at (201) 880-9770 to learn how we can help you. A Bergen County child support lawyer will answer your questions, explain your rights and stand up for your interests.
Why Choose Child Support Lawyer Carrie S. Schultz And Her Team?
Bergen County child support lawyer Carrie S. Schultz is passionate about safeguarding the rights of clients by providing clear and effective legal guidance. She and her skilled attorney team have decades of experience practicing family law in New Jersey. When you choose our firm, you can expect straightforward and knowledgeable legal advice strategically tailored to get you the best possible outcome based on your unique child support situation. Still wondering why you should choose us?
- We spend 100% of our time focusing in family law cases, so we are not distracted by other legal matters.
- Carries S. Schultz has been widely recognized by her legal peers for her professional achievements.
- We keep costs in mind and seek to meet client needs without running up hefty bills.
- We respond quickly to clients’ questions and concerns—in most cases, you can expect a response within 24 hours.
- Our law firm has a Better Business Bureau A+ rating.
You can also read what past clients have to say about the services they have received. We know choosing the right lawyer is something that should not be done without careful consideration.
Call us at (201) 880-9770 to arrange a consultation so you can learn if we are the right fit for you. We look forward to learning about your child support matter and discussing how we can help you.
How We Can Help You
Whether you expect to pay child support or receive it, we can help you by providing informed legal representation every step of the way so that you get a fair outcome in line with your financial circumstances and needs. We will advise you about:
- How who pays support is decided
- How payment amounts are calculated
- What you may expect to happen based on the facts of your situation
- What your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to child support.
Our New Jersey child support lawyers will stand up for your interests with the other parent if negotiating child support outside of the court is a possibility. If your case goes before a judge, we’ll be your legal advocates in the courtroom.
If you are not receiving the support owed to your child, we will vigorously pursue payment. If you can no longer pay the same amount of support because of changed financial circumstances, we will counsel you about how to potentially modify your order. We can also defend your existing order from being modified by the other parent.
In a nutshell, no matter your child support situation, we will work to reduce your stress by providing high-quality guidance that you can trust throughout the entire complex legal process. Read on for more information about how a Bergen County child support lawyer can help you. To speak to a child support attorney, call (201) 880-9770.
Our Bergen County Child Support Lawyers Explain Who Pays and How Payments Are Calculated
Who Pays Child Support?
One question that we often hear is “Who pays child support?” Many fathers automatically assume that they will have to pay. This assumption is not correct. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. There are plenty of situations where the father is the custodial parent or the parents equally share custody. The truth about child support is that both parents have an obligation to the child.
The way that New Jersey calculates child support ensures that both parents pay their appropriate allocated share, but if one parent has to pay more than the other (maybe due to disparity in incomes), the amount each parent has to pay is offset between them and the difference means one parent pays to the other.
Decisions about who is the custodial or the non-custodial parent and what the visitation arrangement should be are based on the child’s best interests as decided by the court. It isn’t based on gender. If child custody or a visitation arrangement is still being determined in your divorce case, our child custody lawyers may be able to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Once custody or a parenting time/visitation schedule is determined, a child support attorney from our firm will help you in all matters related to support, including counseling you about how payments are calculated and how much you might expect to pay or to receive.
How Are Payments Calculated?
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines provide a starting framework for helping judges determine child support payment amounts. The guidelines use a mathematical formula to determine how much money is needed to raise a child in the state and, from there, to arrive at child support amounts. Parents can get an idea of what they may collect or pay by visiting the New Jersey Child Support online calculator. This is a guidelines calculator tool that can give you a rough idea. However, do not rely solely on it, because if you input incorrect data or the wrong location, the amount can and will vary greatly. Plus, the court has the authority to determine the final amount based on all the factors involved, and especially any unique circumstances where there may be an interstate visitation arrangement with travel costs involved.
Some factors considered for calculating child support include:
- The number of children
- How many overnights or 12-hour consecutive blocks of time children spend with each parent
- Each parent’s income, actual or imputed
- Child care costs
- Health insurance premium costs for the children only
- Whether alimony is being paid and received.
Remember, though, that guidelines are just that — a guide. Depending on the situation, the court can find that a deviation from the guidelines is appropriate. A deviation may be appropriate in all sorts of situations, one of them being when there are high wage earners, as further explained below. If the court deviates from the guidelines, under state statute NJSA 9 § 17-53, it must consider all relevant facts in determining the amount of support. Some of them are:
- Needs of the child
- Age and health of the child
- Ages and health of parents
- Standard of living and economic circumstances of parents
- Income and assets of each parent, including any public assistance received
- Earning ability of each parent based on their education, training, employment skills and work experience
- Length of time and cost for each parent to be trained for appropriate employment
- Custodial responsibility of each parent.
The courts will also consider any other factors they think are relevant to deciding support amounts.
It’s also important to note that divorcing couples whose combined net income is above $187,200 are considered “above the guidelines” in New Jersey. This means that the guidelines are utilized first to determine a base amount and then New Jersey law says that you must come up with additional child support on top of that.
When you’re divorcing, or even if you are not married but have a child with another person (adopted or biological), no matter your income level, our Bergen County child support lawyers will advocate on your behalf in child support decisions.
Child Support Settlement through Mediation
When parents can put negative emotions aside for the sake of their kids, they may be able to negotiate child support settlements through mediation, rather than having this decision made by the courts. Parents who use mediation will have more control over the process and the result. Mediation involves working with a trained and neutral mediator to arrive at a result that is agreeable to both sides, while being in the child’s best interests. At the end of any mediation session, a mediator will advise the parties to seek independent legal counsel. Your respective attorneys can assist in child support negotiations.
However, no matter how well-intentioned parents may be, sensitive child support issues can cause conflict. If you and the other parent aren’t able to successfully negotiate the outcome in mediation, child support will be resolved by the court.
Our child support attorneys in Hackensack advocate for clients throughout the mediation process. Contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC when you need legal help from informed and attentive family lawyers. We can be reached at (201) 880-9770.
Our Hackensack Child Support Lawyers Answer Common Questions
Is child support adjusted for the cost of living?
Yes—child support is adjusted for the cost of living. New Jersey Rule 5:6B Cost of Living Adjustments for Child Support Orders entitles parents receiving support to a cost of living adjustment every two (2) years. These automatic adjustments are based on the average change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the state. Parents who are paying child support and those who are receiving it will be notified before the adjustment takes place. This notification gives the paying parent the opportunity to dispute the adjustment if their income hasn’t increased at the same rate as that of the CPI. Contact our Bergen County child support lawyers today if you have concerns about a cost of living adjustment.
How long do I have to keep paying child support?
How long you will have to pay child support depends on the facts of your child’s situation. Child support orders automatically terminate the day a child reaches 19 in New Jersey, marries, or joins the military. If a child marries or joins the military, be sure to notify the Probation Department so a support termination order can be prepared. If a child becomes self-supporting before the age of 19, you may be able to have him or her declared emancipated by the court, and then child support payments will end.
In what situations can child support be extended?
There are several situations in which child support may be extended. Under New Jersey’s termination of obligation to pay child support law (NJSA 2A § 17-56.67), these situations include when:
- A court order specifies another age for the termination of paying child support, which can’t extend beyond the child’s reaching 23 years of age
- A child is severely mentally or physically incapacitated and is financially dependent on a parent and the obligation to continue paying support is specified in a court order or judgment
- The custodial parent submits a written request to the court for continuation of child support because the child is still finishing high school or is attending college or a trade school full time.
The law also allows for “exceptional” circumstances that may extend child support past age 19. These circumstances must be approved by the court.
Will I be notified that child support is ending?
In the case of a child turning 19, if child support is being paid through the court’s Probation Division, both paying and receiving parents will receive an administrative notice that the child support probation department will be closing out their file and ending child support. The notice will be sent 180 days before the support ends, and if there is no response from the receiving parent another notice will be sent at 90 days. It is incumbent upon the parent receiving child support to respond to the notice and update the probation department on the status of the child if they wish support to continue. Failure to do so will result in child support automatically ending. Just because the parent receiving child support may request that the child support continue, that does not mean that the parent paying child support is out of luck. The parent paying child support has the right to confirm the validity of the other parent’s paperwork and reason for requesting continuation. A Hackensack child support lawyer from our firm can assist you in requesting an extension or in challenging the validity of one. Call (201) 880-9770 for help.
How do I know my child support payments are being used for my child’s care?
Child support is for the benefit of kids—not custodial parents. There are court rules about how it’s supposed to be used, such as for housing, food, clothes, medical care, school and some extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, receiving parents aren’t required to show how they spend the money. We know this can be frustrating to parents paying support. It can cause conflict when paying parents aren’t sure how the money is being spent and they suspect it’s not being spent as intended, for the child’s care. However, the courts give receiving parents the benefit of the doubt when it comes to where the money is going.
Still, if you believe the money you’re paying isn’t being used as it should be, it may be valuable to speak with one of our New Jersey child support lawyers. We will investigate your suspicion and, if it can be proven, may be able to help you get a modification to payments if your child’s other parent is using the money for their own needs.
Payment and Enforcement of Child Support
How one pays child support varies. In many cases, child support payments are automatically deducted from the payer’s wages by their employer. The payments are then sent by employers to the child support agency, which pays the custodial parent. Other payment arrangements may be made by court order and could include weekly, biweekly or monthly payments online or through the mail or at county child support offices. There are even child support payment locations at participating retail stores, that accept cash payments.
If paying parents fail to adhere to their payment arrangements and get behind in paying or don’t pay at all, they face tough consequences, which include:
- Having tax refunds intercepted
- Seizure of stocks, bonds and other possible assets
- Interception of lottery and casino winnings
- Passport denial if more than $2,500 is owed
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
- Suspension of professional, occupational, recreational and sporting licenses
- Having unpaid debts reported to credit-rating agencies if over $1,000 is owed
- Incarceration for up to six months.
If you are owed child support payments, our New Jersey child support attorneys can represent you and help you obtain all past-due payments.
If you are behind in child support payments, known in legal terms as being “in arrears,” we can assess your situation and advise you about what to do based on your circumstances. If you can’t afford to pay your child support obligation, we can represent you in negotiating a payment plan with the other parent or having your court order modified, depending on your particular circumstances. It is important to take action right away if you believe you do not have the money to make payments. Do not ignore the situation, as it will catch up to you. If you receive notice that a child support enforcement hearing has been scheduled, be sure to attend. If you do not, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
Reach out to us to learn more by calling (201) 880-9770.
Our New Jersey Child Support Attorneys Assist with Modification Requests
Financial and other life situations can change, both for parents getting child support and for those paying it. You can ask the court for a modification of child support (up or down) if there has been a significant change in circumstances that is permanent and unanticipated. You would request it of the same court that issued the initial child support order.
Some examples of significant changes in circumstances that may result in approval of modification requests include the following:
- One party has experienced a large increase or decrease in income.
- The custodial arrangement has changed.
- Before or after school childcare costs are no longer relevant.
- A parent or the child suffered a serious illness or disability.
- The paying parent now has another child, either biological or adopted.
- A parent lost their home.
To change a child support order, you should first try to negotiate directly with the other parent. If you are uncomfortable doing so, then your attorneys can help you. Even if you and the other parent agree on the change, you will still need to go to court with your agreement and have a new order issued.
If you and the other parent are at odds about the modification, you’ll have to file a motion with the court and ask for a hearing before a judge. The parent asking for the change, whether the custodial parent or the paying parent, is responsible for proving to the court why it’s necessary and explaining to the court the significant change in circumstances. It is likely that the court will send you to a mediation session before the judge ultimately decides the issue.
However, once you have proved to the court’s satisfaction that your circumstances have changed, the other parent will have to provide their current financial information. Then the court will either approve or disapprove the modification after reviewing all the factors involved. This includes, most importantly, assessing how the change will impact the child and whether it is in the child’s best interests. If the modification is approved, it becomes the new child support order.
Our Child Support Attorneys Assist with Modification Requests
A Hackensack child support lawyer from our firm can represent you in pursuing a modification request. We can also help you fight a modification that you do not agree with if the other parent is seeking one. Our attorneys understand what evidence it takes to prove a substantial change in circumstances, as well as to challenge the validity of such a request.
Get Help Now from a Dedicated Child Support Lawyer in New Jersey
Call Us Today for Skilled Legal Assistance
We know that most parents want what is best for their children. Our child support lawyers in New Jersey want that, too. We also want to ensure that all parents are treated fairly in child support decisions in relation to their income and circumstances. When you want to be sure your rights and the interests of your kids are protected in child support matters, turn to our knowledgeable New Jersey family law firm for help.
Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC can be reached at (201) 880-9770. No matter what your child support concern, you can rely on us to work toward getting you the most beneficial outcome.